The seeds of water lotus (botanical name Nelumbo nucifera) are called lotus seeds. People in Southeast Asia have been using the lotus seeds in their cuisine for several centuries now. Traditionally, the lotus seeds or lein zi (as they are known in Chinese) have played a vital role in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Lotus seeds are very popular is Chinese soups and desserts. In addition, they are used in various types of traditional delicacies prepared for events such as the New Year in various forms.
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Lotus seeds are formed inside a unique seed head. Usually, lotus seeds are harvested when they are green and just before they become fully mature. Soon after they are harvested, people remove the bitter germ of the lotus seeds, which are actually the membranes covering the seeds, carefully. Subsequently, the seeds are dried and sold in the form of white peel lotus seeds. They are called white peeled lotus seeds as their color is creamy white. On the other hand, when the seeds are allowed to mature completely, they are sold as brown peel lotus seeds with the brown membrane of the seeds remaining undamaged. Later, these brown peel lotus seeds are split to get rid of the bitter germ.
Often, people sell the fresh lotus seeds which remain inside the seed head. People buying such lotus seeds are aware that they have to get rid of the germ so that they don’t have a bitter flavour when consuming. Usually, people do away with the rubbery membrane that enclose each fresh seed prior to consuming the seeds, cooking them in syrup to prepare candied lotus seeds, which is very popular in some regions of Asia, or grind the seeds to form a paste.
Generally, dried lotus seeds are soaked in water overnight prior to using them. Lotus seeds have a variety of uses and some of the common uses include desserts, wherein the seeds are pulverized to prepare a paste, adding them to rice porridge, consuming them in soups and even adding the seeds to a number of stir fry dishes. People in China as well as in Japan are immensely fond of lotus seed paste, which is consumed as a dessert. Moreover, you may possibly find steamed dumplings stuffed with lotus seed paste.
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Lotus seeds are basically multipurpose food and they can be consumed raw as well as after cooking. You can even pop the dried lotus foods like popcorn and eat them. These seeds are generally harvested in August and September and subsequently sun dried. It is worth mentioning here that there are two varieties of lotus seeds - the white peeled and brown peeled. In the case of the white peel lotus seeds, the membrane as well as the bitter germ is eliminated soon after harvesting so that they don’t taste bitter. On the other hand, the brown lotus seeds are completely matured seeds attached to their membrane. The membrane is responsible for the brown color of these seeds. They are dried and subsequently cracked to remove the bitter germ.
Dried lotus seeds are available extensively in many markets in Asia. These seeds are hardy and have a rough texture. As a result they need to be soaked in water overnight before using them for cooking or eating raw. You can add these seeds to a variety of dishes including soups. On the other hand, fresh lotus seeds are marketed along with the seed heads. Therefore, you need to break the seeds to obtain the seeds and then eat them. Even in the case of fresh lotus seeds, you need to eliminate the seed membrane and the germ before eating them. If you don’t remove them, the seeds will have an unpleasant bitter flavour. You can also prepare crystallized lotus seeds by cooking the seeds in syrup and subsequently drying the preparation to give them a crystalline shape. Lotus seed past is a very common use of lotus seeds and it is a favourite among the Chinese and Japanese. In China, people use the lotus seed paste in pastries, while people in Japan use the lotus seed paste to prepare desserts and cakes.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, lotus seeds are regarded to possess cooling effects and they act on the kidneys, spleen and heart meridians. In addition, people also use lotus seeds to cure insomnia, diarrhea, heart problems and many other health issues. In fact, the bitter germ of the lotus seeds is also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a remedy for specific heart diseases. It is worth mentioning here that some other parts of the lotus plant such as the leaves and stamens are also used for therapeutic purposes for curing many conditions.
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In fact, people in some regions of the world have a preference for lotus seeds owing to the nutritional benefits offered by them and their healing properties. Generally, these seeds are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, in addition to preparing a variety of recipes.
Lotus seeds enclose a compound known as L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase, which is an enzyme possessing anti-aging properties. In addition, it is said that this enzyme also helps in repairing the damaged proteins in our body.
Lotus seeds also contain kaempferol, a flavonoid that is said to possess potent anti-inflammatory properties. These flavonoids aid in controlling the levels of energy in our body. This apart, kaempferol is also known to be useful in repairing the aging gum tissues.
Lotus seeds also possess astringent properties that make them valuable for our kidneys. They aid in regulating the energy levels of our body. Findings of a number of studies have suggested that lotus seeds may also be used for treating a variety of sexual disorders both in men and women.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, lotus seeds are employed to alleviate the problems associated with diarrhea. In addition, they are used to enhance the health of the spleen.
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Conventionally, people used lotus seeds to treat people suffering from sleeping problems, including insomnia. Moreover, it is known that lotus seeds are effective in assuaging restlessness. This is mainly owing to the natural sedative as well as comforting effects of these seeds.
The center or core of the lotus seed is said to be useful for the health of our heart as it possesses cooling properties. The bitter flavour of lotus seeds is attributed to the presence of isoquinoline alkaloids, which many believe bring about a calming effect. In addition, this alkaloid is also anti-spasmodic and also causes the blood vessels to dilate, thereby helping in checking the blood sugar levels.
According to a number of medical researchers, the seeds of lotus aids in reinforcing the digestive process and, at the same time, provide relief from diarrhea. Occasionally, these seeds are used in combination with other herbs with the aim to cure urinary problems, for instance prostatitis. They are also used to treat a number of reproductive diseases. Nevertheless, you should always use the lotus seeds for therapeutic purpose after checking with your physician. This is true for all natural remedies and not only for lotus seeds.
One of the most common oral problems we suffer from is bleeding gums. In order to put off excessive bleeding of gums, you may include lotus seeds in your daily diet. Usually bleeding gums are a result of weak gums or it occurs when you brush your teeth very roughly.
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The oral health benefits of lotus seeds do not end here. Aside from preventing gum bleeding, lotus seeds also calm the irritation on the gums. In case you experience pain along with gum bleeding while brushing your tooth, you need to consult your dentist to find out the real problem. In fact, bleeding gums accompanied by pain could also be the initial symptoms of a more serious oral disease.
One of the things that you can do to enhance your oral health is use lotus seeds in place of processed sugar as well as sweetened energy drinks. Lotus seeds not only serve as instant energy boosters, but also provide your body with significant amounts of protein, potassium, phosphorus and manganese. All these are beneficial for achieving optimal health.
It is very easy to consume lotus seeds and they may also be a healthy snack option. Many experts often recommend that you carry roasted lotus seeds in small boxes when you go to work or university or when you are traveling as consuming these seeds will help to perk up your energy levels quickly. In a way, lotus seeds can be described as tiny power houses of energy.
It is essential for pregnant women to consume enough proteins as they help in the healthy growth as well as development of the nervous system and brain of the fetus. Lotus seeds do not weigh much, but are packed with nutrients. Hence, these seeds are said to be a healthy snack, not only for expectant mothers, but for all.
Ideally, expectant mothers should eat a handful of lotus seeds as this will keep them satiated for a long time and, hence, their increased appetite would be kept in check. It is best to consume a handful of these seeds twice or thrice daily. However, here is a word of caution. Pregnant women should essentially consult their physician before consuming lotus seeds to known whether they would be beneficial for them or not.
It has been scientifically proved that lotus seeds possess high level of anti-inflammatory properties and this is capable of effectively treating mouth ulcers and soreness in the mouth. In addition, these seeds are also packed with soothing constituents that are required when you are suffering from any form of inflammation.
It has been found that most children often have irregular or no appetite. This is very common among children everywhere. To overcome this problem, you may include some lotus seeds in their regular diet. As lotus seeds naturally contain elevated levels of astringent, consuming them can possibly help to restore their appetite. In fact, nutritionists also give emphasis to using natural sources to treat appetite disorders in children. At the same time, adults can also consume lotus seeds to balance out their irregular appetite. Consuming these seeds not only enhances the energy levels in the body, but also regularizes diet issues and solves oral health problems.