Besides being a flowering plant, the lotus also promotes various health benefits through its stem, root, and seeds. The flower produces the seeds which are edible either in the cooked or raw form. They are a good source of proteins, carbohydrates with low glycemic index, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, and traces of iron and zinc. They also contain negligible amounts of sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
Dried lotus seeds have greater nutritional value, and consuming 100 gm of these supplies 350 calories. 100 gm constitutes about 65 gm of carbohydrates, 18 gm of proteins, 2–2.5 gm of fat, 5 gm of minerals, and the rest, water. Mentioned below are the health benefits of consuming lotus seeds.
Benefits Of Lotus Seeds
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1. Have Anti-Aging Properties
As we age, the skin loses its elasticity, resulting in the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. This is due to the damage of the skin protein called collagen. Research indicates that lotus seeds have L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase, ascorbic acid, and glutathione which reverse this damage.1 The oral administration of the seed extract showed effective results in this study.
Cosmetic companies, however, are trying to include the extract in their anti-aging blends, and the research is in progress. The products intend to reverse the aging process and stop the further damage of the proteins.
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2. Prevent Gum Tissue Inflammation
Lotus seeds contain a flavonoid called kaempferol. This promotes anti-inflammatory properties which heal gingivitis (gum disease). They also reverse the process of aging of gums, by recovering the damage. This helps you maintain a good oral health.
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3. Treat Insomnia
Chinese medicine uses lotus seeds to treat insomnia and restlessness. While stress could be the primary reason for insomnia, the other reasons could be old age or an underlying health condition. The calming and sedative properties of the alkaloids present in the seeds have a soothing effect on the brain, thereby inducing a sound sleep.
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4. Reduce Blood Pressure
A number of alkaloids are present in the heart of the seeds or the lotus embryo. Some of them are nuciferine, roemerine, O-nornuciferine, isoquinoline, anonine, and lirodenine. These have antispasmodic and calming effects, which dilate the blood vessels. The dilation results in the reduction of blood pressure in patients with hypertension.2 This avoids any further complications associated with the cardiovascular system, arising due to a high blood pressure.
High levels of sodium worsen the condition of hypertension. Magnesium, on the other hand, improves the circulation of oxygen and nutrients through blood. Thus, the low sodium–high magnesium content of the seeds is yet another reason them.
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5. Improve Kidney Health
The seeds of lotus have astringent properties that specifically benefit the kidneys. They restore the vital energy in the body, improving one’s appetite. It helps regain the lost appetite caused due to illness or any other reasons.
A good kidney health signifies a stronger urinary tract and lesser infections. Prostatitis is also kept at bay.
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6. Heal Diarrhea
The medicinal properties of lotus seeds heal digestive disorders like indigestion and diarrhea. Research also indicates an improvement in spleen health with regular consumption of these seeds.
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7. Promote Faster Clotting Of Blood
A flavonoid, quercetin, has an anti-haemorrhagic effect. This means it helps in faster clotting of the blood in case of an injury or surgery. The flavonoid improves the strength in the walls of the blood capillaries. Charcoaling the seeds enhances the anti-haemorrhagic property, as charcoal by itself is a good blood-clotting agent.
In spite of these prominent benefits, not many of us know about the effectiveness of these seeds. Add these as a part of your salad, soup, or simply pop them up to form a healthy snack. If you suffer from a predetermined health condition like hypertension or a cardiovascular disorder, discuss with your doctor about the amount of seeds to be consumed. This avoids any further complications. In any case, moderation is the key.