Here in Slovakia, poppy seeds are pretty popular – we use them in many cakes as a sweet paste or to add a crunchy texture, it´s a part of our Slavic culture and has its place in many festive dishes. Despite that, we have never really perceived poppy as a healthy food. Our moms used to warn us they would cook a poppy decoction to make us fall asleep when we had “too much energy” at night and it has always been accessible to everyone, maybe that´s why now, we take it for granted and don´t realize what a health miracle we have in our cabinets. Read on and be amazed…

Strew some health on your plate

A 100g serving of poppy seeds contains almost 10g of iron, contributing to our system by 122% of your recommended daily amount! That is perfect for women in general who are more prone to getting anemia due to blood loss and also when they´re pregnant since the baby needs some too. This condition can be very dangerous because while you feel exhausted and blame it on bad sleep or workload, you may be actually ill with anemia, not realizing your organs are not getting enough oxygen for normal functioning and thus can be in serious trouble. Since many of us would rather avoid artificial supplements, poppy is a quick healthy fix. Just strew some into your cereals in the morning or mix them into a pancake dough and you´ll get some crunchy new experience from eating.
Poppy is also very rich in calcium, providing 144% of RDA, ensuring your bones will not break but carry you wherever you need to go and maybe a little farther. Calcium is responsible for the right muscle function too, so if you´re an athlete or you´re just trying to get fit, one teaspoon of poppy seeds before a training will be just the right choice. You can mix it with banana and oat almond milk as a smoothie and you´ll get yourself a sporting vitamin bomb. After this workout, you will probably want to see the results on your body – not only in form of a reshaped figure but also as a fat loss. For this you get more poppy in your system too! For 100g there is 19.5g of fiber which accounts for 51% of RDA. That amount will ensure that fats and toxins from your body will disappear like a ghost. Plus, it will block the absorption of cholesterol in the colon and will keep the LDL / HDL levels in balance. Moreover, fiber along with oleic and linoleic acid, will keep the heart and arteries healthy by preventing their thickening and settling of fats, thus preventing you from coronary heart disease and stroke.

Young complexion, hair, and nails

You always hear about hair and nails´ health in relation to zinc and this article won´t be an exception. The amount of zinc in 100g of poppy seeds is almost 8mg, which accounts for 100% RDA for women. That means your hair will be shiny, your nails will be strong, and your complexion will not show signs of wisdom. Your body will be happy not only because it´s pretty on the outside but also because zinc will provide a boost to your immune system, not letting diseases impair you. But let´s get back to the topic – many of us suffer from hair loss, dandruff, thinning and drying out of hair. You may have used zinc and selenium supplements and of course, tons of conditioners but they didn´t work. The trick may be in the right mixture of particular nutrients. In poppy seeds, vitamins, minerals, fats, and protein are contained in such amounts that together they create a perfect natural treatment for any skin, hair, or nail problem. If you suffer from dandruff, there is a recipe that allegedly works – it´s soaked poppy seeds mixed with curd and white pepper. The mixture should be applied on the head after washing your hair with shampoo, leaving it work for 30 min, and after 2 uses, you should see a significant reduction. In case of thinning hair, there is a recipe of soaked poppy seeds, coconut milk, and onion juice, allegedly boosting hair growth. We say, worth a try.

Allergies will leave us alone

In case of allergies, we are often willing to undergo any procedure claimed to work if there is at least a slight chance the troubles will go away. Especially when suffering from eczema or psoriasis, it can be very unpleasant when you wake up in the morning to find out you scratched your skin to blood during sleep. It´s a nasty condition but also an everyday struggle for many. The problem here is with inflamed skin and its unbearable itchiness which can, in extreme cases, lead to blood poisoning from catching some infection to the dry wrinkles of your irritated skin. For those of us who suffer but try to stay away from corticosteroids in any form, here´s the hopeful solution: Grind poppy seeds and soak them in water or any kind of milk (that you´re not allergic to) overnight, put some honey into it, and mix it well. Apply the mixture onto the inflamed skin, let it work for 15-30 min, and wipe it. Don´t wash the treated area with tap water because of its “dryness” and unclear content of minerals. After 2-3 treatments, you should see reduction in redness from inflammation, less itchiness and burning sensation, and much smoother, younger-looking skin. The effect is believed to be thanks to the high amount of linoleic acid contained in poppy seeds which has anti-inflammatory properties and, as any other oil, soothes the skin and makes it smooth. Besides the benefits provided by pressing the poppy mixture onto the skin, you can get all the great health effects from the poppy as a food, since from all the nuts and seeds, it is the least allergenic. So pack up on the poppy before Christmas, since it´s gonna get all sold!

by Katarína Vicová

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