Sabja or Basil seeds are extensively used for seasoning. They add a unique flavour to food. But did you know that Sabja seeds or falooda seeds, are not just terrific for seasoning or growing new basil plants but also loaded with health benefits. These tiny black seeds that resemble black sesame seeds can give flax seeds and chia seeds a run for their money when it comes to nutritional benefits. They are extracted from Sweet Basil (and not Holy Basil that is more prevalent in India and extremely popular for its ability to bolster immunity).
And you should make it a point to include these humble Sabja seeds in your diet. Here are a few ways Sabja seeds will transform your health.
Nutritional Value of Sabja Seeds
Sabja seeds are power-packed with loads of nutrition and immunity-boosting properties. They are low in calories and contain 42% carbohydrates, 20% proteins and 25% good fats. They are high in fibre and a very good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain good amounts of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, calcium and magnesium, and vitamins C and folates. So, they can be rightly called wonder seeds.
The Health Benefits of Sabja Seeds are:
1. Acts as a Natural Body Coolant
Drinks including sabja seeds provide great relief from the scorching heat of summers. Sabja seeds are known to reduce body heat and have a soothing effect on the stomach. These seeds can be part of a variety of drinks like lemonades, coconut water, coconut milk, milkshakes, smoothies, yoghurt etc.
2. Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
Sabja seeds were proven to have eminent anti-diabetic potential. Sabja seeds are high in fibre. When sabja seeds were regularly given to diabetics just prior to meals, it prevented the spike in blood glucose levels. Thus, sabja seeds were found to be useful in maintaining blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 Diabetes.
Read More: 4 Best Foods for Diabetics
3. Good for Diabetes Management
People who have been diagnosed with diabetes need to be very particular about what they eat in order to keep their blood sugar levels steady. Sabja seeds have been found to possess anti-diabetes properties. In several studies, it was observed that if people consume Sabja seeds just before a meal, their blood sugar level does not shoot up after the meal. By keeping blood sugar levels steady after a meal, Sabja seeds can help manage diabetes better.
4. Relieves Constipation & Acidity
Sabja seeds are rich in soluble fibre. When these seeds are added to our diet with a good quantity of water, they absorb water and thus help in drawing water to our gut. This results in the softening of faeces and promotes daily bowel movement. Thus, people suffering from constipation get tremendous relief by making sabja a part of their daily diet.
Sabja seeds contain pectin among many other soluble fibres. Pectin is proved to have prebiotic benefits. It is thus important in modulating the composition and metabolism of the complex gut microbiota and thereby increasing the number of good bacteria in the gut.
This also helps in relieving acidity to a great extent.
5. Useful in Weight Loss
Sabja seeds are high in soluble dietary fibre and help a person feel full and satisfied. They also regulate our bowel movement and thus help in cleansing our body from accumulated toxins.
The soluble fermentable fibre pectin is helpful in increasing satiety and decreasing caloric intake and adiposity while on a high-fat diet. It also produces a fermentation environment more likely to promote hindgut health.
Reduction in calorie intake thus leads to weight loss.
6. Aids in Weight Loss
Sabja seeds contain protein and soluble fibre. Both these nutrients stay in your digestive system for a long time. This means that when you consume Sabja seeds, you won’t feel hungry for a long period of time. No appetite means no cravings for unhealthy snacks. This helps you stay in shape or lose weight.
7. Regularizes bowel movement
High fibre content also ensures that the bowel movement is regularized. Constipation happens when you don’t drink enough water and the large intestine is forced to suck water out of the faeces. But when you consume fibres and lots of water, soluble fibres draw water to the large intestines and this softens the stool.
People with heart conditions are especially recommended to consume high-fibre foods because straining while clearing their bowels puts pressure on the heart.
8. A Powerhouse of Minerals
Sabja seeds are a rich source of iron, calcium and magnesium.
Calcium and magnesium are required for the optimal functioning of muscles and bone. Iron is needed to maintain haemoglobin levels, which is the protein required to transport oxygen in the blood.
Sabja seeds are the best source to increase iron and calcium levels in case of deficiency.
9. May Prevent the Risk of Heart Diseases
Sabja seeds contain an average of 2.5 grams of fat per 1-tablespoon. Of this fat, about half — 1,240 mg per tablespoon — is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat.
The beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids include effects on lipids, blood pressure, cardiac and vascular function, eicosanoids, coagulation, and immunological responses. They thus decrease the risk of coronary heart disease, hypertension and stroke, and their complications.
Read More: 7 Foods That Help Lower Blood Pressure
10. Has Anti-Inflammatory & Anti-Carcinogenic Properties
Sabja seeds are a good source of plant chemicals like flavonoids and polyphenols. Flavonoids are the largest group of phytonutrients, known for their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties coupled with their capacity to modulate key cellular enzyme function.
Having a diet rich in flavonoids may reduce the risk of cancer and heart diseases.
11. Oral Health Benefits
Sabja seeds have proven anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. They are helpful in curing mouth ulcers. They can be used as a mouth freshener. These seeds also help to combat various dental issues like bad breath, plaque and cavities.
12. May Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Pectin, a type of soluble fibre present in sabja seeds may lower the cholesterol levels in our body. It prevents the absorption of cholesterol in our gut.
13. Reduces Stress & Anxiety
Sabja seeds have a calming effect on the body as well as the mind. They reduce stress, tension, and anxiety, leaving us to feel happier.
Sabja seeds are rich in flavonoids, tannins and terpenoids. Their anti-oxidant activity is also shown to have memory-enhancing effects in some.
Other Uses of Sabja:
- Good for Hair
Sabja seeds are rich in protein. This protein helps in reducing hair fall, better hair growth, and improved hair volume. You can also get rid of dandruff with sabja seed hair oil. Combine the oil you use with sabja seed powder, massage your scalp with it and leave overnight for beautiful and strong hair.
- Good for the Skin
Sabja seeds naturally detoxify the body and clear our internal system. This keeps our skin looking flawless keeping acne or any kind of breakouts away.
Sabja seeds have anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties which protect us from skin infections. They are also used in the treatment of eczema and psoriasis. Also, since sabja seeds are rich in vitamins and minerals, they give a natural glow to our skin.
Read More: 7 Home Remedies for Glowing Skin
How to consume sabja seeds?
Soak around 2 teaspoons of Sabja seeds in a cup of warm water for around 15 minutes. They swell and a translucent grey film coating develops around each black seed, as they increase in size.
You can now make these seeds a part of a variety of drinks like lemonade, milkshakes, coconut water, smoothies, buttermilk, soups and so on. You can also add them to ice creams, pasta and salads for a nice crunchy taste.
Daily Dosage of Sabja Seeds:
Ideally, you should not consume more than 2 teaspoons of sabja seeds every day.
Precautions for using Sabja seeds:
- Children could choke on the seeds if they are not swollen well in water, before administering.
- Pregnant women should consume sabja seeds only under the guidance of a healthcare provider, as it tends to increase the oestrogen levels in the body.
- Sabja seed oil and extracts can slow blood clotting. Hence, it is not recommended for consumption if you have recently had surgery or are wounded.
- If you have a scheduled surgery, you must stop using sabja seeds at least two weeks before the surgery.
Side Effects of Sabja Seeds:
- Sabja seeds may lead to diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, acne, acid reflux, headache, abdomen discomfort, loss of appetite in some people.
- Sabja seeds can also cause low blood sugar in some cases.
Chia seeds and Sabja seeds:
Sabja seeds are often confused with chia seeds. Some notable differences between chia and sabja seeds are:
- Sabja seeds are jet black in colour while chia seeds are a mixture of black, white and grey in colour.
- Sabja seeds are elliptical in shape while chia seeds are oval.
- Chia seeds can be consumed raw or soaked while sabja seeds can be consumed only after soaking.
Sabja seeds are commonly known by a variety of names like:
- Sweet basil seeds
- Falooda seeds
- Sabja ginjalu
- Thai holy basil
- Sabja Vethai
- Tuk malanga
- Basilic cultive
- Basilien Kraut
Sabja seeds may well be called a ‘superfood’. These tiny seeds can help you improve your health in multiple ways. So go on and get yourself some Sabja seeds right away!
Read More: 8 Health Benefits of Flax Seeds
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.