How Beneficial Are Poppy Seeds?
Poppy seeds were very popular in Ancient Egypt, India, and Persia. They belong to Papaveraceae family, and their scientific name is Popaver somniferum. These biennial herb origins are in East Mediterranean countries and Asia Minor. To be able to grow, the plant needs sunny and fertile soil, and when these conditions are optimum, it can grow up to 5 feet in height. During spring, blue, red, white, or lilac flowers turn into oval or globular shaped fruit, in fact capsules. One fruit capsule or head contains numerous tiny, bean shaped seeds that can be light gray, dark gray, and black depending on the cultivar type. They are commonly used as a condiment in cooking due to their pleasant and nutty taste, but they are known as seeds with high nutritional value and antioxidant properties.
The recognizable nutty taste comes from many fatty acids and essential volatile oils. As well as flex seeds, poppy seeds are rich with oleic and linoleic acids. Many researchers recommend poppy seeds for digestive tract problems due to their ability to increase bulk of the food by absorbing water. All this is possible because of the rich amount of dietary fiber.
Rich in B-complex vitamins and minerals such as cooper, iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc, poppy seeds are necessary for the production of red cells, and for blood pressure.
Pregnant women and children can consume poppy seeds safely. The fact that dried poppy seeds contain small levels of opium alkaloids (morphine, codeine, thebaine) does not characterize them as harmful and dangerous.
Moreover, these opium alkaloids have beneficial effects on human organism and body. They are able to soothe nervous system, and they act as painkillers. Some traditional medicinal systems use poppy seeds in tonics as remedies for coughs.