Poppy seeds can bring various benefits to the body. Find out their properties, how to use them, where to find them and the possible contraindications.
The name of the poppy, the herb from which the homonymous seeds are extracted, derives from the Celtic pope, which means baby food, since in ancient times there was the custom of adding its extract to the baby food in order to make them fall asleep and sleep long; this plant, in fact, is mainly known for its sedative and calming effects, obtained both from the infusion of the leaves and from their extracts.
The seeds produced by the poppy are rather small seeds, ranging in color from dark blue to gray, depending on where they are grown. Poppy seeds are found as an ingredient in baked goods such as bread, bread sticks or crackers, but they can also have other uses. Both the properties of poppy seeds and the uses that can be made of them will be explained below.
Poppy seeds: calories and nutritional properties
Like all oil seeds, poppy seeds are rich in “good” fats, substances known for their beneficial effect on cardiovascular health.
They also contain a good quantity of minerals and vitamins, especially calcium, manganese, copper, potassium, iron, B vitamins and vitamin E, a molecule with antioxidant power.
As for calories, like all oil seeds, poppy seeds are also quite caloric, developing 525 calories per 100 gr. It should be noted, however, that the quantities generally consumed make the caloric impact of poppy seeds almost nil in terms of physical fitness.
Nutritional values per 100g of poppy seeds:
- Waterfall: 5.95 g
- kcal: 525
- Proteins: 17.99 g
- Fat: 41.56 g
- of which saturated: 4.517 g
- Carbohydrates: 28.13 g
- of which sugars: 2.99 g
- Fibers: 19.5 g
- Soccer: 1435 mg
- Glycemic index: 35
- Cholesterol: 0 g
Poppy seeds: benefits
Regular consumption of poppy seeds can be associated with some benefits. Let’s see which are the main ones.
✓ Benefits for the heart
As we have already said, poppy seeds are rich in unsaturated fats, mainly of the omega-6 series, as well as having a lower content of omega 3. These fats are beneficial for the cardiovascular system, as they help reduce cholesterol in the blood. More generally, regular consumption of foods containing unsaturated fats reduces cardiovascular risk. It should be noted, however, that an excess of omega-6 in the diet may be linked to an increased risk of inflammation and disease. Therefore, it would be preferable not to regularly consume large quantities of oilseeds or oils rich in omega-6s.
In addition to this, it is worth noting the presence of polyphenols in poppy seeds, substances with antioxidant power also linked to beneficial effects for the heart.
✓ Useful against anxiety and insomnia
Thanks to the known sedative properties, poppy seeds can be considered a natural remedy for anxiety, stress and insomnia.
✓ Source of antioxidants
Poppy seeds are a good source of vitamin E and polyphenols, substances with a strong antioxidant power, useful for counteracting the damage caused by free radicals and reducing, overall, inflammatory states.
✓ Benefits for the intestine
Poppy seeds are a good source of vegetable fiber and are therefore useful for preserving regular intestinal function, helping to combat constipation.
✓ Benefits for the bones
Poppy seeds are an excellent natural source of calcium, an important mineral for bone health. This is also joined by the presence of manganese, a mineral that has shown properties useful for the synthesis of the bone matrix and the calcification process.
How many poppy seeds to eat
Poppy seeds belong to the category of oil seeds and, as such, one serving is equivalent to about 10 grams, the equivalent of a couple of teaspoons. This quantity can also be eaten every day and provides just over 50 calories. Poppy seeds can be consumed at any time of the day, from breakfast to dinner. Let’s see below some ideas for eating them.
How to use poppy seeds
Poppy seeds are widely used especially to enrich doughs of bread, focaccia, breadsticks and other savory baked goods, but also sweets, and are a typical ingredient of the German, Austrian and Hungarian culinary tradition; they are also widely used in Turkey and Greece. In Italy they are an ingredient known mainly in the cuisine of Trentino.
An idea for using poppy seeds in the kitchen can be to eat them for breakfast by adding them to the muesli we prepare at home, to yogurt or to smoothies. They are also an ingredient suitable for enriching risottos, vegetable and rice salads, or cous cous-based dishes; the flavor of poppy seeds goes very well especially with that of citrus fruits, asparagus and potatoes.
How to store poppy seeds
Poppy seeds deteriorate easily, so they should be stored in jars, preferably in glass, with hermetic closure, to be crammed in a dry place, away from light and heat. If kept well, they can be stored for up to six months.
Contraindications of poppy seeds
Poppy seeds have no particular contraindications. However, it must be considered that poppy seeds contain opiate substances, albeit in minimal quantities. Moderate consumption should not cause problems, but there is currently no definite evidence on any side effects on specific risk categories, especially pregnant women and children under ten. The effects of the alkaloids contained in poppy seedsthey are drastically reduced by soaking the seeds, grinding them or subjecting them to high temperatures. Furthermore, when consumed with food, these compounds produce a much more limited effect on the central nervous system.
Where to find poppy seeds
Poppy seeds are easily found in large retailers, generally in the shelves dedicated to spices and aromatic herbs. Alternatively, you can buy them in health food stores, in stores specializing in natural food and on websites that deal with these products.