Sabja Seeds or Sweet Basil Seeds:
Sabja seeds (Ocimum basilicum) sweet basil, Falooda seed or Turkmaria seeds are the new super food getting lot of attention from people. They belong to the lamiaceae plant family, which is also the plant family of mint. Sabja seeds or sweet basil seed are storehouse of nutrition and keep you full for a long time. But, remember, never have sweet basil seeds raw, they are hard to chew. Soak them for some time before consumption. Sabja seeds are black in colour and have mild taste of basil. They are easy to blend with and drink or dish.
According to a recent study, the percentage of nutrients in these seeds are-
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and high level of Omega-3 fatty acids
Sabja seeds are often confused with chia seeds in India. Actually, Chia seeds are not from the native plants of India and belong to South America. Apart from the difference in physical characteristics, chia seeds have relatively more fat content than sabja seeds.
Health Benefits of Sabja Seeds (Sweet Basil Seeds):
1. Help in Digestion :
Sweet basil seeds are exceptionally high in fiber content. According to a research, 4 gm of sweet basil seeds contain more fiber than a bulb of lettuce. These fiber rich seeds have higher level of mucilage (soluble fiber), thus help in regulating the bowel movement and improves digestion.
2. Help in Weight loss:
Sabja seeds has an ability of expanding up-to 30 times of its original volume when soaked. The gelatinous mass of these seeds is rich in fiber and keeps you full for a longer time. Sweet basil seeds contain high level of protein; about 14% of its content which are slow to digest and keeps you full for a longer period of time. Therefore, add these seeds to your smoothie, falooda, shake or water to incorporate in into your diet.
3. Good Source of Omega-3:
Sweet basil seeds are one of the richest source of Omega-3 fatty acids from plant source. Higher level of omega 3 helps in reducing cholesterol. Research says, 28 gm or one ounce of sabja seeds fulfill the daily requirement of omega-3 fatty acids for an adult.
The Omega-3 fatty acids and the antioxidants present in sweet basil seeds reduce the production of free radical in the body and reduce degenerative diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s diseases and many more.
4. Maintain Sugar Level:
Research says, sweet basil seeds help in maintaining glucose level in blood by slowing down the metabolism. Sweet basil seeds also help in increasing secretion of insulin in Type II diabetes and again help in maintaining the blood sugar level.
5. Good for Heart Health:
Sabja seeds are rich in antioxidants and also have cholesterol and triglyceride lowering properties. These properties help to reduce free radicals from the body and hence, reduce chances of cardiovascular complications.
6. Prevent Infection :
Sweet basil seeds are known to have antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. They help to fight against wide spectrum of pathogens and keep you healthy.
7. Sabja Seeds for Acidity:
8. Relieves Tension:
In Ayurveda, Tulsi has been a mother of herbs for thousands of years; it works as a mood elevator. Sweet basil seeds have anti anxiety and antidepressant properties that help to keep you in good mood. Research says, regular consumption of these seeds have psychological benefits; it reduces toxic stress by relaxing and calming the mind. In addition, it also has positive effect on memory and cognitive functions.
9. Sabja Seeds for Skin :
Sweet Basil seeds are rich in antioxidants and thus help to give you a radiant skin. Apply powdered seeds mixed with coconut oil for about 20 minutes and rinse. This will make your skin soft and supple; it also reduces blemishes.
Sabja seeds also help to fight with skin diseases like- Eczema and Psoriasis. Simply, apply pre-soaked (about 20 minutes) seeds paste along with turmeric powder on the affected skin.
10. Sabja Seeds for Hair :
Sabja seeds are rich in Vitamin K, protein and minerals like- iron that help to grow strong and radiant hair. If you are suffering from hair loss or other hair problems, include these seeds in your diet in any form. However, you can try sweet basil seeds as hair pack or hair oil too for better results.
11. Keep Body Cool:
Sweet basil seeds are very commonly known as falooda seeds because of its cooling properties. In country like India, where tropical climate prevails in most of the regions, people need foods which give cooling effect on their body. Sabja has been used from ages to serve the purpose.
You can make falooda with sabja or can add to milkshake and lemonade. Or just add these seeds to a bottle of water with little Rooh-afza while going out; it will protect you from the scorching heat of the sun. In other words, it also prevents dehydration due to its water storing capacity.
12. Prevent Oral Infection:
Sweet Basil seeds also help to treat bad breath, gum diseases and mouth ulcers. Sabja seeds help to fight against Streptococcus mutans, the pathogen responsible for tooth decay. Herbal mouth wash can be prepared by using sweet basil seeds oil.
13. Improve Vision:
Sweet basil seeds are rich in Vitamin A and beta carotene. Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant booster for retina and also helps to prevent loss of vision (macular degeneration) and development of Cataract.
14. Sabja Seeds for Constipation:
Due to carminative effect of basil seed, it cures all general ailments related to stomach like acidity, flatulence, constipation and irregular bowel movement. In fact, Mucilage (soluble fibre) is the main content of soaked Sabja seeds which helps to cure constipation. They help to ease the bowel movement and protect the internal lining of intestine.
Just add some soaked seeds to your glass of milk at night.
15. Basil Seeds For Urinary Tract Infection :
Basil seeds are very useful for curing a bladder infection. The antibacterial properties of basil seeds help us to fight against infection. Actually, the most common reason for urinary infection is less water intake and sabja seeds help us to maintain water intake.
Just add 1 tablespoon basil seeds in your water bottle (1 liter) and add honey, rooh-afza or your favourite sharbat or cordial to give some flavour.
16. Sabja Seeds for Cough Relief :
Tulsi or basil has been used since ancient times for treatment of cold and cough. Sabja seeds are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids like vicenin, oretin; it acts as an immunity booster. The rich properties of Basil seeds help us to fight with general infections like cold and cough. Due to anti inflammatory properties, sweet basil seeds also help to relieve pain caused in muscle due to coughing.
17. Sabja Seeds for Sleep:
An amino acid L – tryptophan which is not formed by our body is present in basil seeds. L – tryptophan helps in the release of hormones serotonin and melatonin. These hormones are known as Natural sleep inducer and also used to cure insomnia.
Therefore, have soaked Sabja seeds with a glass of milk every night to promote good sleep.
There are not enough scientific proof to define the range of dose for basil seeds. They are many factors like- user’s health condition, age, past history and many more which define the suitable dosage of basil seeds. It is advised to consult to your physician or health professional before consumption of basil seeds. Also go through the dosage mentioned on the product label.
How to Eat Sabja Seeds:
It is better to soak the seeds for about 15 minutes before consumption. Add one table spoon of seeds to one glass of water and the seeds will swell by 20 to 30 times. Soaking the seeds in water accelerates release of mucilage and digestive enzymes and ultimately leads to better absorption in the body.
Sweet basil seeds have very mild bail flavour and can blend in easily with any dish or shake.
Add to falooda, drinks, smoothie, salads, desserts, or ice cream sundae, they blend in completely without changing the taste. Sweet basil seeds can also be used as binding agents in bakery products to substitute egg. Flax seed can also be used as binding agent in cakes.
Sweet Basil seeds reduce the estrogen (pregnancy Hormone) level in the body, therefore, females trying to conceive should also avoid its consumption. Pregnant ladies should also not use it.
People with thyroid imbalance should not take sabja seeds. Estrogen is indirectly related to thyroid hormones, so if estrogen is lowered in body, it will also affect the levels of thyroid hormone.
Avoid giving sabja seeds (dry or soaked) directly to small kids or elderly people, it can cause gag them. People with trouble in swallowing should also avoid these seeds.
Always soak basil seeds in enough water to avoid sticky clumps of soaked seeds which are difficult to eat.
Basil Seeds Side Effects
Apart from numerous benefits posed by basil seeds, it’s important to know about its side effects-
- Sabja seeds if not chewed properly can cause choking.
- Hormonal changes in terms of estrogen and thyroid should be kept in mind.
- Sabja seeds extract have blood thinning properties, therefore, it is better to avoid its use for few weeks after any surgery.
- Basil seeds extract inhibits clot formation process, therefore, it is better to avoid its use in blood related diseases.
- Basil seeds extracts have blood pressure lowering properties and should be avoided in low blood pressure patients.
There is no side effect of this herb; however pregnant or lactating mother should avoid it. And if it does not suit you, stop it immediately; it is better to consult your doctor before trying.