Big things come in small packets!
Think Sabja (Basil seeds) and this thought ought to cross the mind. These tiny, minuscule seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients and an effective natural remedy for numerous health conditions. In short, the health benefits of Sabja seeds are many!
While the Basil plant (Tulsi) holds a significant place in our traditions and is found in practically every Indian household, these seeds are entirely different and full of advantages. Rich in protein, fats, and carbohydrates, the black and tiny Sabja seeds provide a good quantity of fiber too. Great for diabetes, they are good for our skin too. But be careful how you eat them – they are hard to chew, so it’s best to soak them in water and consume them rather than having them raw. Just immerse them in warm water, and they are ready for consumption in 15 minutes.
Benefits of Sabja Seeds are –
Brings down the body heat
A drink infused with Sabja is a great way to beat the scorching heat. A highly effective natural coolant, they gel well with water, coconut milk, sherbets, and milkshakes too.
Sabja seeds are known to be effective for Type 2 diabetes. Since they slow down the metabolism, they help control the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose. Just mix some soaked seeds in a glass of milk and consume it for breakfast as a delicious, healthy drink.
An experiment carried out by the National Institutes of Health had shown that when people suffering from Type 2 Diabetes had 10 grams of Sabja with water after every meal for a month, their post-meal blood sugar level had dropped by 17%.1 According to Bangalore- based Nutritionist, Dr. Anju Sood, “Sabja seeds are rich in antioxidants, help in controlling diabetes and is also good for your skin. Basil seeds are hard to chew, so do not take them raw. It’s best to soak them in water before consuming, which makes them more gelatinous. It is recommended to have at least two teaspoons every day to gain health benefits.”
Since these seeds are high in dietary fiber, they help a person feel fuller and satiated. They also naturally detox the body and regulate the bowel movement. Have a glass of milk with some Sabja seeds before going to bed for it aids in digestion and acts as an effective stomach cleanser.
Pectin, a soluble fiber present in Sabja delays stomach emptying. It increases certain hormone levels that can make you feel fuller and help in curbing your appetite, thus helping in weight loss.
If you have a regular complaint of mouth ulcers, make Sabja seeds an integral part of your diet. Their anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral properties also make them an effective mouth freshener. The seeds are known to protect a wide array of dental problems too such as bad breath, cavities, and plague.
Good Source of Minerals
According to the U.S. product nutrition labels, one tablespoon (around 13 grams or 0.5 ounces) of Sabja (Basil seeds) provide 15 % of RDI (Reference Daily Intake) of calcium and 10% of RDI for iron and magnesium2. Both calcium and magnesium are very important for muscle and bone health. Iron is vital for protecting and maintaining healthy red blood cells. Many people are not able to reach their daily calcium, magnesium, and iron intake level. For them, Sabja could prove to be very helpful. It is also a great source of minerals for vegetarians and vegans who refrain from meat and/or dairy product intake.
Very Good Source of Fiber
Basil seeds or Sabja have a high content of soluble fiber according to the National Institutes of Health. Soluble fiber helps in drawing water to your gut, thus softening stool and improving daily bowel movement. People suffering from constipation can resort to having Sabja daily. One tablespoon is said to supply 7 grams of fiber (which is about 25% of the RDI) according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)3. Sabja has pectin amongst many other soluble fibers. Test-tube studies suggest that pectin has many prebiotic benefits. It helps in nourishing and increasing good bacteria in your gut. It also helps in preventing acidity and heartburn.
Helps in Improving Cholesterol Levels
Pectin from Sabja (Basil seeds) inhibits cholesterol absorption in the gut. A research carried out by PubMed Central of the National Institutes of Health showed that people who had 7 teaspoons (30 grams) of Sabja daily for one month witnessed an 8% drop in their cholesterol levels4.
Omega 3 is known to improve eye health, fight anxiety and depression, promote brain health, and reduce the risk of suffering from heart diseases. One tablespoon of Sabja (basil seeds) contains 1240 mg of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is an Omega 3 fat. According to researches carried out by the National Institutes of Health, men and women need a daily intake of 1600 mg and 1100mg of ALA respectively5. Just one tablespoon (13 grams) is enough to provide that amount of ALA and thus increase Omega 3 intake.
Promotes Healthy Skin and Hair
Sabja seeds with coconut oil can help in treating skin infections like psoriasis and eczema. Having Sabja seeds regularly will help your body to secrete collagen which helps in forming new cells. Vitamin K, iron, and protein found in Sabja seeds also help in maintaining long and strong hair.
Side Effects of Sabja Seeds
- If not soaked well or in less water, the Sabja seeds can cause incidents of choking in some cases.
- If you suffer from hormonal imbalances or thyroid, check with your doctor before consuming the Sabja seeds.
- For pregnant ladies, it’s best to check with your doctor before you consume the seeds because they tend to up the estrogen levels in the body.
Where All can I use These Seeds?
Sabja seeds act as a great topping in drinks, faloodas, and desserts. Mix a spoonful in a chilled glass of lemonade or sprinkle a few seeds over your kulfi to give your sweet dish a nice crunchy taste. You can also add them to your salads and pasta or munch the seeds as a low-calorie snack.