POPPY SEEDS – Nutritional Profile
Poppy seeds, like most seeds, have a complex nutritional makeup that provides significant elements of the nutrition required for healthy living.
Taking a 100g cup of the seeds will provide 28g of carbohydrate (22% RDA), 18g protein (32% RDA), fats 42g (139% RDA) and dietary fibre of 20g (512% RDA)
B group vitamins such as Folates, Niacin, Riboflavin are also present along with Vitamin A, C and E whilst minerals are present in the forms of Calcium, Copper, Iron Magnesium, Selenium and Zinc.
Current thinking in dietary nutrition considers Glycemic Index (GI) which is the rate at which carbohydrate is released into the bloodstream. Low GI foods are regarded as more beneficial and poppy seeds are classed as Low GI.
POPPY SEEDS – Health Benefits
Antioxidants are important in the prevention of disease and poppy seeds contain many chemical compounds that are known to have anti-oxidant, disease preventing and health promoting properties.
They have a high content of fatty acids and essential volatile oils, up to 50% net weight and these fats, especially oleic and linoleic acids which are mono-unsaturated fatty acid help to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and at the same time they increase HDL or “good cholesterol”.
The much trumpeted Mediterranean diet which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids has been shown through research to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favouring the correct balance of HDL over LDL cholesterol.
The outer coating or husk of poppy seeds is rich in dietary fibre. 100 g seeds provide 19.5 g or 51% of recommended daily levels of fibre. Much of this fibre is insoluble, metabolically inert which helps increase bulk of the food by absorbing water throughout the digestive system and easing constipation. As food is expedited through the colon optimum nutrition is extracted whirls maximum toxic matter is absorbed and expelled from the colon before damage can be done. In this way colon cancer occurrence is kept to a minimum.
In addition, dietary fibres will bind to bile salts (produced from cholesterol) with tow benefits. Firstly excess bile acids will cause gallstones if permitted to reach the gall bladder which will clearly not happen with fibre present. In addition the absorption of bile will lead to the creation of firther bile thus reducing LDL cholesterol levels further.
B-complex vitamins such as thiamine, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid are found in plentiful supply in poppy seeds. These vitamins are critical in many metabolic processes associated with energy production and play a significant role in the management of LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. They also enhance certain brain activity which will reduces stress levels.
Poppy seeds contain high levels of a range of minerals such as n, copper, calcium, potassium, zinc and magnesium. Copper and magnesium are required in the production of red blood cells which is particularly important for all women during the menstrual cycle.
Zinc is a co-factor in regulating growth, development and specifically the generation of sperm.
Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that has an electrolytic function and helps to control heart rate and blood pressure whilst manganese is used by the body as a major anti-oxidant producer.
Dried poppy seeds contain very small levels of opium alkaloids such as morphine and codeine that when consumed in food produce minimal effect when consumed on the human nervous system but have beneficial effects such as soothing nervous irritability.
Poppy Seeds – Product History
Poppy seeds are extremely small, less than a millimetre in length and it takes 3,300 seeds to make up a single gram and come from the same family that produces opium. The production of poppy seeds can frequently clash with the production of opium because opium latex is extracted from the plant before the seeds are ripened. Presence of such alkaloids means that sale of poppy seeds is banned in Singapore and Saudi Arabia.
They are frequently harvested to make poppy seed oil and in these circumstances the solids left after oil extraction become a valuable animal feed.
In 2008 the world harvest reached 98, 835 tonnes of seeds with Turkey being the number one producer at 34.194 tons, more than one third of the world crop.
It is widely recognised that the best poppy seeds, those with a blue grey, slate colour, are those grown in Holland which produced just 493 tons in 2008.