Have you heard of Garden cress seeds anytime?? Most of the young generations would not really be aware of this highly nutritious food. But our grandparents are definitely using it.
Few years back garden cress seeds/ halim/ aliv was not a common food to be included in your diet except during last trimester of pregnancy and lactation. But as years passed its popularity and its importance have been realized and now people are aware of the tremendous health benefits of these brownie chocolaty seeds. As we know where are facts it is also accompanied by some myths. So one of my concern to write on this particular seeds is to make aware of the real benefits. I chose to write and clear few myths and doubts of these seeds so that maximum people can start making use of these seeds and improve the nutrient content of meals.
Nutritive value of these seeds is very high. It is available in almost all parts of the world. Its high nutritive value and readily availability makes it possible for people of all the sections of society to include in the diet and increase nutritive value of their meals without increasing the expense of their diet.
Garden cress seeds are very high in Iron and Folic acid content. These seeds are use as herbal medicine to treat iron deficiency anemia. People consuming 2tsp/day have seen to have good increased levels of hemoglobin over a period of 1-2 months.
Garden cress seeds also contains calcium, ascorbic acid, tocopherol, and beta-carotene which helps to improve body’s immunity. Garden Cress seeds are loaded with not just protein, but also linoleic and arachidic fatty acids. Since they contain phytochemicals that resemble estrogen to some extent, intake of these seeds helps to regulate menstruation and stimulate milk production in lactating mothers.
That is why women are given foods containing Garden Cress following childbirth.
Traditionally garden cress seeds were considered to be useful only during last few weeks of gestation and post delivery. It is considered to be hot food. But the truth is that these seeds have ability too increase uterine contraction.
So in later stages of pregnancy it helps in inducing labour but if in case consumed in early stage of pregnancy (1st trimester) it leads to spontaneous abortion. It is also very carefully prescribed to a hypothyroid patients because it belongs to cruciferous family and is a goitrogen that prevent iodine absorption.
Health benefits of Garden Cress Seeds
- Cures Anemia:
Due to its high quality and quantity of iron and folic acid it helps to overcome iron deficiency anemia. Garden cress seeds being the richest source of non-haeme iron. It is advisable to have vitamin C half an hour after consumption of these seeds as it enhances iron absorption.
- Regulates Menstrual Cycle
These seeds are rich in phytochemicals that are similar to estrogen therefore consuming them helps in creating the hormonal environment to start your menses so it helps to regularize your periods.
High nutritive content of cress seeds. It’s given especially to post partum mothers and lactating mothers as it enhances milk production.
The seed coat of germinating seeds contains mucilage, which has a phytochemical called lepidimoide. It also has hypoglycemic properties which help to control glucose levels in diabetics. Recommended dosage 15g/day
- GI Disease:
It is used during constipation as a laxative . It is also used to treat intestinal problems and abdominal colic issues. It is laso very helpful in treating bleeding piles. Garden cress helps purify blood and stimulate appetite and immunity.
- Anti-Respiratory tract Disease:
Garden cress seeds are good expectorants and when chewed they treat sore throat, cough reliever, asthma and headache. It is highly recommended for bronchitis as it has broncho dilating properties.
Cress seeds are stimulant to bile function.It protects the liver from damage from toxic agents like carbon tetra chloride (CCL4). Presence of flavonoids, triterpens, alkaloids, tannins provide protection to the liver.
It is also seen that cress seeds have anti-hypertensive property. It has diuretic property due to which it has blood pressure lowering property.
Being a family of Brassica family it has good anti cancer property. Garden cress seeds contain antioxidants like vitamin A and E which help protect cells from damage by free radicals. Hence, these seeds have a chemo protective nature.
Side-effects of Garden Cress Seeds
1. Diuretic Properties
Garden cress contains diuretic properties thus patients suffering from frequent passage of water and urine should be cautious when using this plant.
2. Abortifacient Properties
Garden cress is abortifacient in nature thus capable of inducing abortion in early pregnant women if taken in excess. Pregnant women should refrain from eating garden cress as it has the tendency to induce uterine contractions and abortion. Garden cress seeds can increase uterine contraction, thus certain people use it to induce labor in late stages of pregnancy.
3. Goitrogenic Properties
Garden cress contains goitrogens, which are substances that subdue the proper functioning of the thyroid gland through its interference with iodine absorption. If consumed in a very large quantities can cause the thyroid gland to enlarge, thereby causing goiter and hypothyroidism.
How to eat:
- Roasted slightly with added salt.
- Soaked in water then added to milk or juice.
- Chikki or laddoo can be made. (preparation similar to til laddoo/chikki).
How much to eat:
Start with 1 tsp/day and then an be taken 1 tsp/2c a day.
Cress seeds have many more medicinal properties and researches are still on to find its benefits on health. Garden cress should be eaten in moderation. Excess consumption of these seeds may hv adverse effect on health.
Garden Cress Seeds
For details on how to use it and few basic recipes kindly click here.