Poppy seed is an oilseed from the opium poppy that has been harvested from dried seed pods by various civilizations for thousands of years. It is a tiny kidney-shaped seed. The seeds are used whole or ground into meal as an ingredient in many foods like bread and pastry. They are also pressed to get poppyseed oil. Here Alina Petre, MS, RD, HealthLine.com, reflects on several emerging benefits of poppy seeds, medically reviewed by Jillian Kubala, MS, RD:
“The poppy plant (Papaver smoniferum) has been used as a traditional remedy for centuries.
Native to the Eastern Mediterranean, its flowers come in various colors — primarily white and yellow (1).
The seeds these flowers produce are small, round, and bluish, black, or light to dark gray depending on where they’re cultivated (1).
Poppy seeds are used in baked goods and traditional dishes worldwide. Both the seeds and their oil are said to offer various health benefits, from treating headaches and coughs to curing asthma and insomnia (2).
All the same, you may want to know how these claims stand up to scientific scrutiny.
Here are 6 emerging benefits of poppy seeds.
May contain pain-relieving compounds
The poppy plant contains morphine, codeine, thebaine, and other opium alkaloids known for their pain-relieving, calming, and sleep-inducing properties. These compounds are often found in pharmaceutical drugs intended for these uses (13).
These alkaloids are typically present in the poppy pod’s milky white liquid, also known as poppy latex.
Poppy seeds don’t naturally contain opium compounds but may become contaminated with them during harvesting or as a result of pest damage (13).
Thus, before reaching supermarket shelves, poppy seeds are usually cleaned to get rid of any opium alkaloids with which they may have come into contact.
However, it’s possible to find and purchase unwashed poppy seeds that contain higher levels of these opioids. Unwashed poppy seeds are often proposed as a natural alternative to certain pharmaceutical drugs (14Trusted Source).
Yet, unwashed poppy seeds pose several health risks, the most severe of which is accidental death. As such, they should only be consumed under medical supervision (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
May boost heart and skin health
Poppyseed oil is particularly rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which may be beneficial for your heart and skin.
Research suggests that diets rich in unsaturated fats may reduce your risk of heart attacks and stroke by up to 17%. Replacing saturated fats in your diet with unsaturated fats may be particularly advantageous (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
Keep in mind that diets with a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio may increase your risk of inflammation and disease.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/poppy-seeds-health-benefits#3.-May-boost-heart-and-skin-health
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