Pop poppy seeds for a healthy lifestyle

A grass called Khus Khus which smells mild and musk-like, holds an important place in perfumery, soaps and cosmetics and has a few medical benefits too. But the treasure lies in the seeds of khus, also known as Poppy which can be used in a variety of ways and in an array of dishes particular to respective states.

It is for this reason that khus (or cuscus) finds its place in virtually every kitchen.

The quality of Khus is that it adds thickness, texture and flavour to the recipe making it a very widely used ingredient, not only in India but abroad as well. In European countries, their common staple food, bread, is baked with poppy seeds. Cuscus is added to pastas as garnishing, mixed with cake dough and also special Christmas dishes are prepared with it.
Interestingly in India, especially in states like Bengal, where it is generally referred to as posto, khus is used like any other vegetable. It is very popular and extensively used in fish pakoras. Similarly, it is added in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka specific cuisines too. In North India too, khus laddoos can be found in every sweetmeat shop.

Being so extensively used in cuisines all across the India and the world, poppy seeds come with health benefits too. “People, generally consider khus as a kind of a spice but it is a type of condiment that enhances the flavour. It has great nutritional value too because of its high fibre content which when added to a dish makes it a high-fibre diet,” says Dr Komal Mallik, nutritionist, Colombia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon.

“The fibre in poppy seeds helps to control the cholesterol level in the body. It decreases the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increases the HDL (good cholesterol) lipoprotein deposits in the body. It is ultimately beneficial for diabetic patients. Besides, it has complex vitamins like B2, B3, B4, Folic and Pantothenic acid that is beneficial for the proper working of the body. Minerals like copper, calcium and zinc are also readily available in khus,” says Komal.

According to the nutritionist, khus has anti-oxidants properties too. Therefore, it is suggested to patients suffering from cancer. Even oil from the khus khus has medical benefits. It is anti-inflammatory and has a very soothing and cooling effect. This essential oil calms and pacifies all sorts of inflammations. This oil efficiently stops the growth of the bacteria responsible for causing septic, and eliminates them, thereby helping cure septic and offering protection against it.

However, consuming poppy seeds in large amounts can lead to serious health complications and it can be addictive as well. If khus-khus is taken in big amounts, it can cause constipation and dizziness as well.

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