FoodThe ancient superfood seed reviving gut health and more: Tukmaria

The ancient superfood seed reviving gut health and more: Tukmaria

Sweet basil seeds
Sweet basil seeds
Images source: © Adobe Stock

12:02 PM EDT, May 8, 2024

Sweet basil seeds, known as tukmaria, are emerging as powerful superfoods due to their distinctive health benefits. Packed with nutrients, they have been a staple in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.

Tukmaria seeds come from the tropical regions of Asia and go by various names such as sabja, falooda, selasih, and sweet basil. These seeds, valued for thousands of years in Chinese and Ayurvedic Healing systems, are part of a family with over 150 varieties. Holy Asian basil is revered and used in Indian religious ceremonies. Due to their similar appearance, tukmaria seeds are often mistaken for chia seeds.

Health Benefits of Tukmaria Seeds

Rich in soluble fiber, including pectin, tukmaria seeds support gut health by fostering beneficial bacteria, delaying stomach emptying, and increasing satiety hormones. Regularly consuming sweet basil seeds can improve gut function, alleviate bloating and constipation, and combat indigestion.

These seeds are also a good source of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A and K, and antioxidants like polyphenols and flavonoids, protecting against free radical damage. Tukmaria's antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties amplify its health benefits.

Taking sweet basil seeds, post-meal can aid in reducing blood sugar levels. The pectin in the seeds helps lower blood cholesterol by preventing its absorption in the intestines. Additionally, tukmaria is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat known for its anti-inflammatory effects. Just a tablespoon of these seeds can meet the daily ALA requirement.

How to Consume Sweet Basil Seeds?

Sweet basil seeds need to be prepared correctly to maximize health benefits. Soaking the seeds in water, milk, or juice is recommended to allow them to swell and form a gel-like coating (consumption of raw seeds is not advised). Waiting about half an hour after soaking is ideal, although they begin to swell within 5 minutes. Once soaked, they soften and can be incorporated into various dishes, including puddings, smoothies, yogurts, and salads.

Thanks to their ability to swell, sweet basil seeds can help create a feeling of fullness, supporting weight management efforts by reducing the urge to snack. Adding them to water can also help maintain adequate hydration. However, using them as part of a balanced diet rather than a standalone solution is critical.

Differences Between Chia Seeds and Sweet Basil Seeds

While chia and tukmaria seeds share similarities, including their swelling nature in water, they differ in texture and taste. Tukmaria seeds create a more gelatinous coating and remain slightly crunchy inside. Unlike flavorless chia seeds, tukmaria seeds are refreshingly light and have a mild basil flavor.

Sweet basil seeds
Sweet basil seeds© Pixabay
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