Nigella seeds, also known as kalonji, are a widely used kitchen staple known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties. Read on to find out how including nigella seeds in your diet can improve your overall health.
Nigella seeds are tiny black seeds that look like black sesame but have a completely different flavour and shape that can only be identified when you taste them and inspect them closely.
These seeds are mainly used as a pickling ingredient due to its extraordinary flavour that tastes similar to onion and oregano spice.
These black seeds are also used to impart a unique and subtle aroma to many Indian dishes and are often used in combination with other whole spices for tempering curries and dals.
However, these seeds have more to offer. Many studies have shown that Nigella seeds have excellent health benefits and are packed with a lot of nutrients.
It contains a good amount of potassium, magnesium, and manganese. It also contains phytochemicals and antioxidants. Nigella seeds offer the following health benefits.
10 Health Benefits Of Nigella Seeds:
1. Prevent And Control Diabetes
Kalonji and it’s oil, both are very useful for diabetes patients. It has been shown in some studies that daily intake of 2 grams of nigella helped lower the blood glucose levels in diabetes patients.
The reduction is mainly observed in the fasting blood glucose levels. Nigella seeds also appear to help glucose homeostasis and lower the amount of glycosylated hemoglobin.
Diabetics often deal with excess glycosylated hemoglobin which can significantly increase the risk of heart disorders like blood clots and stroke.
Therefore, nigella seeds are not only helpful for diabetes itself but are also protective against the major complications of diabetes.
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2. Help In Weight Loss
Nigella supplements have been shown to help with weight loss and reduce waist circumference.
Though, further studies are required to get better insights, the existing results point to the enormous potential of the humble seeds in managing body weight.
Kalonji seeds have a phytochemical called phytosterol which reduces appetite and aids in calorie restriction.
Therefore you may include more nigella seeds in your food to make it more filling or have a spoonful daily to achieve your weight loss goals.
3. Maintain Normal Blood Pressure
Nigella seeds have been shown to be therapeutic for patients with mild hypertension and helped regulate blood pressure.
The findings also revealed that regular intake of nigella seeds reduced both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
This quality comes from thymol and thymoquinone that are present Nigella seeds and their oil, both of which demonstrate blood pressure-lowering activity.
These compounds reduce the activity of an enzyme called ACE and in turn, lower the oxidative stress on heart to lower blood pressure. The nigella seeds also show diuretic effects which lead to well-regulated blood pressure.
4. Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is the response of the immune system of our body which helps to protect us against invading organisms like bacteria, viruses, etc.
But excessive unwanted inflammation can damage the body and is often found in chronic conditions like autoimmune diseases, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer.
The compound Thymoquinone present in the nigella seeds helps to stop the effects of cytokines which are the inflammation-causing compounds and therefore reduces unwanted inflammation.
Nigella seeds have high antioxidant properties which means it reduces the damage from free radicals and therefore are a great anti-inflammatory food. Nigella seed oil may be used for pain relief in osteoarthritis patients and may also be helpful to reduce rheumatoid arthritis pain.
5. Promote Liver And Kidney Health
As mentioned already, nigella seeds are known to be powerful antioxidants which is why they also have liver-protective properties.
Oxidative stress is a major cause of liver damage over time and nigella seeds help reduce this it.
The antioxidative compounds present in the nigella seeds stop the damaging free radicals from harming the liver and also the human DNA.
Thymoquinone, an active antioxidant in Nigella seeds also protects the liver from parasitic attacks and regular consumption of nigella seeds can help to reduce different parasitic infections.
Nigella seeds extract is also good for the kidney. They help to prevent kidney damage and the formation of kidney stones by preventing the formation of deposits of calcium oxalate.
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6. Improve Skin Health
Nigella seed oil and Nigella extract can be applied to the skin for achieving various benefits.
Many studies have shown that application of nigella seeds leads to improved skin texture and may also help to treat common problems like acne.
Nigella seeds also aid in treating fungal skin infections like candida due to the presence of Thymoquinone which also exhibits anti-fungal properties.
So, you may consider using nigella seed oil to keep the skin woes at bay!
7. Boost Immunity
Nigella seeds can help to boost immunity, reduce asthma and enhance lung health.
Since the seeds contain very powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, it is very helpful in protecting our bodies from microbial attacks and infections.
Nigella seeds have also shown excellent protective activity against bacterial strains like Staphylococcus. Hence their consumption helps us stay safe from allergens in our surroundings.
8. Improve Memory
Kalonji seeds may also be helpful to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s, a disease that causes loss of memory in elderly people.
Ayurveda also suggests the consumption of Kalonji to promote mental heàlth.
According to Ayurveda, intake of kalonji leaves combined with mint leaves is a powerful antidote to poor memory and cognitive abilities.
9. Prevent Cancer
Nigella seed oil has reduced the size of tumours in many types of cancer patients including lung cancer and colorectal cancer.
This may be due to the presence of an antioxidant thymoquinone in nigella seed oils. It suppresses inflammation and increases immunity in cancer patients.
Regular consumption of nigella seeds also helped in the prevention of many other deadly cancers like liver, skin, prostate, breast, and cervical cancer.
10. Lower Cholesterol
Kalonji seeds exhibit amazing cholesterol-lowering properties.
Regular consumption of nigella seeds have shown to reduce plasma lipid concentrations and lower triglyceride levels.
For optimum results, one should consume the seeds in high quantities and for a longer duration.
The humble nigella seeds are not only used for tempering many Indian dishes like dal and curries bot are also packed with health benefits.
Adding them to your daily meals can help to reduce weight, prevent many diseases, and fight inflammation.
The seeds are full of antioxidants which makes them great for treating chronic pain associated with conditions like arthritis.
It can also help to lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol and help in the prevention of cancer.
It also has beneficial effects on liver, kidney, and lung health and may also help to prevent the possibility of Alzheimer’s disease in older people.
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