Garden cress seeds are called Halim in Hindi and Aliv in Marathi. It is commonly cultivated throughout the temperate regions of India and Pakistan. It has several health benefits associated with it.
Both the stems, seeds and leaves of garden cress are edible but only the stems and leaves can be eaten raw in salads or used for other culinary purposes. The seeds can be roasted or cooked before eating. Garden cress belongs to the cruciferous family and is related to mustard, pepperwort , pepper grass and watercress.
Garden cress is an excellent source of folic acid, vitamins C, dietary fiber, iron, calcium, protein, vitamin A, folate and vitamin E. The seeds of garden cress are also highly nutritive and they contain ascorbic acid, tocopherol, folic acid, calcium, linoleic fatty acids, iron, beta-carotene and arachidic acid.
Benefits of garden cress seeds
- Garden cress seeds have the ability to speed up the metabolism and increase thermogenesis.
- Garden cress seeds are used for treating patients suffering from iron deficiency anemia. It is one of the richest vegetarian sources of iron with good bioavailability. 100gms of garden cress seeds provides 1.5mg of iron.Consumption of up to 2 tsp /10 g of soaked garden cress seeds along with vitamin C helps to boost the hemoglobin level over time (Gupta & Singhal 2011). supplementation of garden cress seeds incorporated ladoo have shown improvement in the haemoglobin level and clinical signs and symptoms of the selected moderately anaemic adolescent girls (Angel & Devi 2015)
- Garden cress plant can be used for treating sprains by applying its paste on the affected area
- It is also used for treating vitamin C deficiency symptoms such as scurvy / bleeding gums
- It is effective in infective illnesses such as cough and bronchial asthma
- Garden cress seeds have shown to boost milk production in nursing mothers. often they are advised to have garden cress seed kheer ar the aliv laddoo . Because of its high iron and protein content, it is often given post-partum to lactating mothers.
- Garden cress seeds contain plant phytosterols and their derivatives, which have been shown to possess antioxidant potential, anti-inflammatory activity, and to protect against some illnesses and cancers.
The oil of the seeds is rich in alpha linolenic acid, and contains an ideal ratio of ω-3 fatty acids (n-3) and ω-6 fatty acids (n-6) . Omega fatty acids have multiple health benefits including boosting of memory, enhancing cognition, improving immunity and preventing risk of cardiovascular diseases.
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