Not many people in the West know that lotus flower is not only beautiful but also produces edible seeds. These seeds can be eaten raw or cooked as a healthy snack or soup ingredient. In fact, eating lotus is a culinary tradition in places like India, China, and Japan. These seeds are small and found inside lotus pods, with each pod of lotus containing around 20 seeds which are surrounded by cells. These shells become hardened when the seeds are dry. Besides popular as an ingredient in some Asian cuisines, lotus seeds are also traditionally used for folk remedy.
Here are 15 Ways Lotus Seeds Can Boost Your Health
What makes lotus seeds a healthy snack and Eastern medicines?
1. Rich In Important Nutrients
Lotus seeds have numerous health benefits when consumed regularly, both in their dried and fresh forms. This is due to the important nutrients that are present in the seeds. In traditional Chinese cooking, lotus seeds are used as a protein source. But protein is not the only important nutrient that you can get by eating lotus seeds since the seeds are also rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, some carbohydrates, and a little amount of iron and zinc. In addition, lotus seeds also contain multiple important amino acids like threonine, tryptophan, isoleucine, leucine, and lysine. The seeds are also very low in cholesterol, sodium, and saturated fat. No doubt, these nutrients make lotus seeds beneficial for health.
2. Has Anti-Aging Properties
Lotus seeds can also be a weapon for your anti-aging crusade. All of the seeds contain L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase, which is an anti-aging enzyme that can speed up the repair of damaged proteins. This enzyme is currently sought after and explored by many cosmetic companies for this reason. It also makes these companies start incorporating the extract of lotus seeds in their anti-aging cream and serums.
Besides the enzyme, lotus seeds also contain kaempferol, which is a natural flavonoid that is commonly present in some plants. This flavonoid works very effectively in preventing inflammation, which is the cause of many aging-related issues. Many cosmetic companies claim that the flavonoid repairs aging tissues and preserves their youthful presentation.
3. Eases Insomnia
Sleeping disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, and sleep restlessness are common issues faced by people of all age. Besides being triggered by some chronic underlying health issues, these disorders are also sometimes caused by stress. In modern society where stress and anxiety have become common parts of daily lives, these problems are even more prevalent. Many people of all genders, social classes, and ages, come home at night to find that they are burdened by anxiety that disrupts their sleep pattern.
No matter what the cause is, whether it’s a complicated underlying physical problem or a prolonged stress and anxiety, tackling the root of the insomnia is what needs to be done to eliminate the problem for good. However, there are also ways to cope by easing the sleeping disorder, such as by consuming lotus seeds regularly. Lotus seeds have a calming effect that is effective in acting as a natural sedative. The property encourages natural sleep and improves the quality of the sleep throughout the night.
4. Treats Potassium Deficiency
Because one of the minerals that are found abundantly in lotus seeds is potassium, the seeds will also help treat potassium deficiency. Although potassium is not a macronutrient which is needed by the body in large amount regularly, a lack of supply of the nutrient is always a bad thing. When your diet is deficient in potassium, you will experience uncomfortable and undesirable symptoms such as muscle weakness and fatigue. When the deficiency is not properly treated, you will experience more severe symptoms including intestinal anemia, heart palpitations, severe headaches, inactive reflexes, and intestinal pain. The most serious side effects of prolonged potassium deficiency include diabetes and hypertension.
5. Stabilizes The Level of Blood Sugar
Lotus seeds are good for diabetic patients because it can prevent and treat diabetes by preventing the sudden spike and drop of blood sugar level. This is because lotus seeds contain a significant amount of potassium, which is needed to maintain a healthy, balanced level of blood sugar. When the body lacks potassium, there will be unpredictable plunges and spikes in the levels of insulin and glucose. When your blood sugar decreases beyond normal, you can experience problems such as a headache, fatigue, weakness, nervousness, tremble, and weak muscles. In addition, when the blood sugar drops, people can crave unhealthy foods which may make the condition worse. A healthy diet that provides enough potassium and sodium, which are both presents in lotus seeds, will reduce your risk of suffering from this condition.
6. Maintains Healthy Brain Functions
Eating lotus seeds as snacks or soup ingredients also contributes to the healthy functioning of your brain. Potassium is extremely necessary to keep your brain function normally. When your body has a high level of potassium, more oxygen will be allowed to enter your brain. This will enhance neural activity and improve your cognitive function.
In addition, it also ensures that the electrical conductivity between your neurons work stays seamless and quick. When this function works normally, your cognitive abilities, including your ability to concentrate, memorize, and learn, will be greatly improved. Deficiency of potassium will cause problems of your brain function that will lead to ailments like epilepsy, learning disability, and dementia.
7. Strengthens Bones
Among some of the most important benefits of calcium, potassium, and phosphorous is how these minerals work together to protect and strengthen the bones. Each of these minerals is present in a high concentration in lotus seeds, making the foods very beneficial for your bone health. Calcium is the essential mineral for the development of your bones, teeth, nails, and gums. It strengthens your backbone and keeps the bones in their proper shape. Sufficient level of calcium ensures the right shape of your body and its ability to carry out daily activities. Calcium deficiency will lead to the loss of bone mass or osteoporosis and other problems like arthritis and back pain.
Phosphorous is also very important to maintain healthy bones and ensure a strong skeletal structure. Along with calcium, the mineral strengthens bones and protect them from the wear and tear of everyday life. These two minerals work together to prevent bone loss.
In addition, the potassium in lotus seeds also improves the health of your bones. It helps retain and preserve calcium, so your body can use it to strengthen the bones and improve its durability. When you consume lotus seeds regularly, you will have a higher mineral density in your bones.
8. Strengthens and Builds Muscle
Lotus seeds can help you develop strong and healthy muscle tissues because of the multiple nutrients present in them. Protein, for a starter, is the most vital macronutrient to build and repair cells. If you want to build your muscle, you need to have enough protein in your diet. Protein is what essentially builds your muscle tissues.
However, you will also be benefited from the minerals in lotus seeds such as potassium and sodium. Potassium ensures that your muscle tissues grow properly and that the energy released from metabolism utilized in a way that improves your muscular strength. Potassium allows your muscles to contract and relax properly. When your diet is deficient in protein and potassium, your muscle building goals will fail. Not only that, your health may also be compromised. In addition, you also need sodium to maintain muscle strength. All of these nutrients can be found in lotus seeds.
9. Maintains A Healthy Blood Pressure
The minerals in lotus seed work together to stabilize the level of blood pressure. According to a research, a balanced vegetarian diet with enough potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber works effectively to reduce the level of blood pressure. Lotus seeds have all of them which becomes another reason why you should consider the seeds as a part of your regular diet.
Potassium reverses the effect of sodium that can disrupt the balanced level of blood pressure. Sodium is actually a vital mineral that ensures a healthy contraction of blood. However, if there is an excessive level of sodium in your body, your blood level can be elevated. Thus, a diet with enough potassium is vital in maintaining a stable level of blood pressure and prevent you from suffering from hypertension.
10. Maintains Cardiovascular Health
Lotus seeds can also boost heart functions and prevent heart problems. Hypertension may lead to more dangerous cardiovascular events like a heart attack or stroke. Since lotus seeds contain minerals that stabilize the blood pressure, it also reduces the risk of dangerous cardiovascular problems.
Consuming enough lotus seeds may also strengthen your cardiovascular muscle so your heart can work more effectively. Sufficient amount of calcium stimulates proper contraction and relaxation of the heart. It also regulates the pressure in your arteries. When your calcium level drops, the hormone calcitriol which causes the arteries to contract is released, which may lead to heart failure.
11. Protects Kidneys
The minerals in lotus seeds, such as phosphorus and dietary calcium, reduces the risks of kidney stones. Phosphorous keeps the kidneys healthy by ensuring the proper urination and excretion to release the waste and toxins from kidneys. When the quantity and frequency of urination are improved, the body will maintain its balance regarding the levels of water, salt, uric acid, and fat.
What we usually call kidney stones are usually formed by crystallized calcium and other minerals. However, it’s not high intake of minerals like dietary calcium which causes the problem. Oxalate stones, which is the most common type of kidney stones, are mostly caused by consumption of high oxalate foods that are found in some leafy vegetables. Insufficient intake of fluid and excess minerals in water also contribute to the development of kidney stones. On the contrary, dietary calcium may improve your protection against kidney stones.
12. Good for Weight Loss
Lotus seeds are also the perfect snack or soup ingredients to consume when you want to maintain or achieve a healthy weight. The protein in the seeds is probably the most important nutrients for people who aim for a better weight and better muscle. Protein boosts metabolism and promotes satiety. It reduces the level of ghrelin, the hormone that controls your appetite. When the ghrelin level is low, you don’t feel hungry. As a result, you will eat less and reduce your overall calorie intake.
In addition to protein, the calcium in lotus seeds also helps you maintain the healthy weight by preventing the release of parathyroid hormone which can stimulate fat production in your body. That’s why consuming lotus seeds should be in your regular diet plan.
13. Boosts Digestion
In traditional Chinese medicine tradition, lotus seeds are also commonly used as a folk remedy to treat digestion problems like diarrhea. This is in part due to the phosphorus that facilitates a proper and effective digestion by stimulating an efficient niacin and riboflavin metabolism. Phosphorus can also clear up other digestive problems like constipation and indigestion. The mineral encourages healthy bowel movements which properly eliminates toxins from your body, resulting in a better overall health.
14. Provide Instant Energy
Because of the abundant content of nutrients, including protein, magnesium, and some carbohydrates, lotus seeds can be your quick source of energy. The carbohydrate in lotus seeds gives you a quick energy boost which enables you to continue your activities. Meanwhile, the large amount of protein, although a bit slower to digest and metabolize, is one of the best energy sources especially if you care about your weight and muscle. The energy from protein lasts longer. These seeds can be consumed like a popcorn snack that boosts your energy and health while at the same being tasty and easy to digest.
15. Good for Pregnancy
The presence of a lot of nutrients in lotus seeds also makes them one of the best ingredients to incorporate into an expecting mother’s diet. A large amount of protein in lotus seeds help stimulating the development of the fetus’ brain and nervous system. It ensures the normal neurological functioning of the brain. Protein is also the building block of all cells and tissues.
Consuming enough protein is therefore required to guarantee a normal physical development of the fetus. This is the reason why lotus seeds become one of the most recommended snacks for pregnant women to maintain a healthy pregnancy, even based on doctors’ advice in countries where lotus seeds are common foods.