Poppy seeds are an established commercial crop in many parts of the world. Well known to ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, seeds obtained from pods of a dried poppy plant were added to food as a condiment and sometimes given to athletes for vitality. The poppy has been cultivated for over 3,000 years for food and opium. Poppy seeds are not only delicious, but healthy and safe for kids.
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Vitamins and Minerals
Add poppy seeds as an important part of your child's diet. The seeds are excellent sources of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid. They're high in oleic acids, which helps lower LDL -- the "bad" cholesterol, while they also help increase the "good" cholesterol. Poppy seeds contain positive levels of minerals like copper, iron, magnesium, calcium, manganese and zinc. Zinc is a co-factor needed in foods children eat, as it regulates growth and development as well as digestion and nucleic acid synthesis.
Dietary Health Benefits
The outer coat of the poppy seed is rich in dietary fiber and 100 grams of seeds provide 51 percent of the recommended daily fiber levels, according to nutritionandyou.com. The site also states that poppy seeds have disease-preventing properties and promote good health. The California poppy, native to California but found throughout the United States and other countries, also is used as an herbal remedy. The California poppy has been used for behavioral disorders in children and as a bed-wetting and anxiety treatment.
Preparation and Serving
Roast poppy seeds in a pan on mild heat to augment their flavor. Gentle frying releases aromatic essential oils within the seeds, adding to their crunchiness. Poppy seeds are ordinarily served sprinkled onto a food or mixed into recipes. Alternatively, poppy seeds are ground onto food. In South India, poppy-seed milk is used to prepare a recipe with coconut milk, raisins and sugar. Austria and Hungary use poppy seeds in strudels and Germknodels. In America, they're fed safely to children in breads, cakes, muffins, tarts, soups and salad dressings.
Poppy seeds are one of the safest and least allergenic nuts and seeds. Safe for pregnant women and children, they do not have negative side effects on their own, however, they may react with various medications. Use caution when feeding poppy seeds to children taking central nervous-system depressants, pain relievers, opiates, cholesterol-lowering medication or drugs that suppress the immune system. Speak with your doctor if you're in question about any medication reacting with poppy seeds.