Call it Sabja or Sweet Basil, two teaspoons of these tiny black seeds are all you need in your daily diet, to derive its amazing health benefits. Also known as falooda seeds or turkmaria/tukmaria, Sabja ginjalu in Telugu, Sabja vithai in Tamil, these tear-shaped kernels belong to the family of Ocimum basilicum and are often confused with chia.
Prized by Ayurveda and Chinese medicine for innumerable therapeutic and health benefits, sabja seeds as they are colloquially known in India, are grown on a tender, medium size herb and are mostly found in warm and tropical regions.
Native to India and other South East Asian countries, these seeds have been in cultivation for more than 5000 years and top the list of quintessential ingredients in Thai, Vietnamese, Italian and Indian cuisines, especially in desserts.
Though there are around 60 varieties that come from the family of Ocimum basilicum, sabja seeds in particular are rich in antioxidants, protein, carbs, fiber and good fats that help in keeping sugar levels under control and boost immunity.
And what’s more? These tiny little wonders are very low on calories and nutrient dense. When soaked in water, sabja seeds offer only 40 calories for every two teaspoons.
Sabja seeds with an intrinsic quality of forming into a gelatinous substance with high moisture retention are strongly backed by scientific research in curbing obesity, thanks to its digestion delaying properties. Sabja seeds can retain water for longer hours and it is that natural ability, made these otherwise very tiny, hard kernels in raw form, a most sought-after ingredient for food thickening and in the process of emulsification.
The jelly like substance in these seeds slows down the digestion, delays the release of glucose into the blood stream, prevents obesity, discourages over-eating besides treating other diabetes related complications.
How To Consume Sabja Seeds?
Sabja seeds are usually consumed after soaking in water for around 30 minutes. These naturally gelatinous seeds swell in water, become soft and translucent to touch. After swelling completely at least twice the size, each seed gets coated with a white film and starts releasing antioxidants and digestive enzymes.
Mildly fragrant, sweet basil seeds can be blended with a variety of drinks or can be garnished on top of ice creams and desserts. Pack these tiny seeds for your snack or sprinkle over soup.
Nutrition in Sabja Seeds
Sabja is very low on calories making it the most desired ingredient for those on weight loss diet. Though rich on carbs, these little seeds provide high amount of protein, fibre and other necessary nutrients.
Rich In Carbohydrates:
Being loaded with 42% of carbs for every 100 grams, these seeds provide instant energy to the body. The carbs in these seeds fuel metabolism, aid the functioning of kidneys, heart and central nervous system. Regular intake aids in digestion, soothes stomach ailments and keeps bad cholesterol levels under control.
Loaded With Protein:
Sabja seeds are a natural and vegetarian source of protein with a whopping 20% for every 100 grams. Consume these seeds daily to strengthen bones, muscles, skin and for stimulating the production of enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals for better functioning of the body.
High On Fiber:
Sabja seeds are exceptionally high on fibre. Just 4 grams of these seeds contain more amount of fibre than a whole bulb of lettuce or spinach making it an ideal choice of foods for those dealing with stomach issues. It keeps you satiated for longer hours, curbs hunger pangs, improves good cholesterol, keeps you energized and prevents chronic conditions like diabetes, heart diseases and cancers related to stomach.
Low On Calories:
These little black seeds are extremely low on calories almost in negligible amounts. Add these seeds to your daily diet to avoid sleep apnea, joint disease, to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and various types of cancer.
Powerhouse of Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
These sweet basil seeds are a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids that help in fighting depression, anxiety, for improving vision, foetal development and avoid the risk factors that can lead to heart related problems. Regular intake by the children will help in treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and improves metabolic activity. It is one of the foods that is highly beneficial for the patients suffering from chronic inflammation.
Right Amounts Of Minerals:
Sabja seeds are a storehouse of various minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, folic acid - all in right amounts. Around 100 grams of sabja seeds serve up to 244 % of calcium, 178% of magnesium, 499% of iron, 56% of potassium and 78% of folic acid of daily recommended dose.
Ample Amounts of Vitamin E:
Vitamin E is one of the main components of the sabja seeds. Drink sabja seeds water to hydrate the skin from within, faster healing of the wounds, reduce skin itching, soothe eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions and for preventing skin cancer. Additionally, vitamin E in sabja seeds also helps in improving vision, can slowdown signs of premature aging and serves as a potent antioxidant, when soaked in water.
Nutritional values Of Sabja Seeds per 100 grams:
Serving Size 100 g
Total Fat 0.61g
Saturated Fat 0.041
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.389g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.088g
Total Carbohydrate 4.34g
Dietary Fiber 3.9g
Vitamin A 5275IU
Vitamin C 18.0mg
* Source As Per USDA
How To Make Sabja Seeds Water For Weight Loss?
We all know that warm water with honey and lemon when consumed on empty stomach helps in losing weight, but do you know that adding sabja seeds to it makes it even more beneficial?
Try this very instant, easy-to-make sabja, lemon and honey water to shed those extra kilograms.
Sabja, Honey and Lemon Water
2 tsp sabja seeds, soaked in water for 30 minutes
10 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp natural honey
1 cup lukewarm water
Stir in soaked sabja seeds, lemon juice, natural honey to a cup of lukewarm water.
Consume it daily on an empty stomach to lose weight and to shed belly fat.
How It Works:
Sabja seeds are high on alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), that is derived from the good amounts of omega 3 fatty acids present in it. It boosts metabolism, burns extra fat and thanks to rich amounts of fibre, it keeps you satiated for longer hours. Honey aids in lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, boosts immunity while lemon being rich in vitamin C shields body from contagious infections.
Sabja Seeds In Ayurveda:
Sabja seeds have been an integral part of Ayurvedic treatment for more than 1000 years. The seeds according to this ancient medicinal practice serve as natural coolant in summer, pacifies doshas related to vata and pitta. It is an amazing diuretic and is prescribed for those suffering from dysuria – pain and discomfort during urination.
Ayurvedic practitioners recommend including sabja seeds in daily diet for those suffering from binge eating or excessive eating disorders as it suppresses appetite for many hours. Other conditions in which sabja seeds are prescribed are as follows.
The seeds are covered in mucilaginous gel around the inner covering and when soaked in water it exhibits properties of an emollient. Being high on fibre, it also serves as a laxative and the mucous membrane stimulates bowel movement. Ayurveda recommends consuming soaked sabja seeds along with milk before going to bed for regulating bowel related issues.
Controls Hunger Pangs:
Traditional medicine suggests eating soaked sabja seeds before meal as it works as an effective appetite suppressant. Low on calories and high on nutrients, it provides all necessary nutrition to the body. These seeds being high on alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), stimulate fat-burning metabolism in the body. Drinking sabja seeds water daily on empty is a proven method to lose weight. One can also consume these seeds mixed with yogurt to soothe the tummy.
The natural cooling properties of these seeds make them the most-sought after ingredients, during peak summers. Mix these seeds in milk or just in drinking water to reduce body heat and to provide enough hydration from within.
Controls Blood Sugars:
Studies reveal that sabja seeds along with milk and no sugar for breakfast aid in keeping blood sugars under control. Regular intake slows down the metabolic activity thus regulating the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose.
Relieves Acidity And Heartburn:
Sabja seeds are known for diuretic properties and can flush out toxins, by cleansing kidneys. It can neutralize stomach acids, alleviates heartburn, soothes inner lining of the stomach and provides much needed relief.
Heals Mouth Ulcers:
Sabja seeds are recommended for those with repeated episodes of mouth ulcers for their anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Eating a spoonful of soaked sabja seeds for works as a mouth freshener. It also clears plaque and prevents cavities.
Deals With PCOS:
Being a superfood rich in essential vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, protein Sabja seeds are a part of PCOS friendly foods. These seeds don’t spike insulin levels, do not cause food allergies, keep you filling, regulate menstrual cycle and hormonal issues.
Prevents Recurrent UTI:
Sabja seeds are recommended for those suffering from recurrent episodes of Urinary Tract Infection. Being natural coolants and with an ability to flush out toxins from kidneys, sabja helps in fighting the infections and other related complications like burning sensation and pain. Take sabja water regularly to cure the infection.
Fights Neuro Disorders:
Studies reveal that sabja seeds being rich in antioxidants help in reducing the risk of neuro degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and also aid in relieving stress, migraine, depression and mental fatigue.
Sabja For Skin And Hair:
These tiny, crunchy seeds not only ensure your physical and mental well-being but also provide radiant glow to your skin and hair. Sabja has been traditionally in many home remedies for beautiful skin and hair growth.
Benefits of Consuming Sabja Seeds For Skin:
Blemish Free Skin:
Sabja seeds are a powerhouse of Vitamin E, Vitamin A and Vitamin K and regular consumption provides skin cells with all the goodness of all these nutrients, giving you a radiant looking, blemish-free skin.
Delays Premature Aging:
If you have noticed signs of aging, it’s time to take apply sabja seeds face pack. Apply soaked sabja seeds on the face as a pack and wash it after 15 minutes. Do it daily as it provides necessary hydration, elasticity to the skin and reduces the signs of aging.
Clears Acne and Pimples:
Believe it or not, consuming sabja seeds on a regular basis cleanses the body from within and prevents skin issues like acne, blackheads, pimples especially in teenagers. Its antibiotic properties soothe skin from within and keep it infection-free.
Tightens Skin Pores:
The good amounts of flavonoids in sabja seeds serve as skin tightening agents. They aid in fighting free radicals, reduce wrinkles, age spots, tighten skin pores and regenerate healthy skin cells.
Sabja Seeds Face Pack:
2 tsp soaked sabja seeds
1 tsp lemon juice
1 egg white
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl
Apply it as a pack on the face and neck
Wait for 20 minutes and let it dry
Wash it with plain water
How It Works:
Sabja seeds are a powerhouse of antioxidants and vitamins. These components help in tightening the pores, provide radiance and clear wrinkles. Good amounts of vitamin C in lemon battles skin infection while egg white serves as a toner.
Sabja Seeds For Hair:
Traditional medicine mentions the goodness sabja seeds in fighting hair fall and dandruff. Protein, being the main component in these seeds provides ample nutrition to the hair from within, thus reducing hair fall and adds volume to the tresses. You can also clear dandruff by using this easy-to-make, DIY sabja seed hair pack.
1 tsp dry sabja seed powder
1 tsp virgin coconut oil
1 tsp olive oil
Mix dry sabja seed powder with coconut and olive oils.
Massage thoroughly on the hair roots.
Leave it for one hour and wash it with mild shampoo.
How It Works:
Sabja seeds soothe the scalp, reduce itching and improve blood circulation. Coconut oil strengthens the follicles and promotes hair growth while olive oil serves as a natural conditioner.
Traditional Remedies Of Sabja Seeds
Cough: To relieve cough, have a mixture of a tsp of sabja seeds in water along with 1 tsp of honey.
Diarrhea: An infusion of basil seeds provides quick relief.
Scorpion Bite: A paste of basil seeds is applied on the wound externally.
Scalp infection/Dandruff: A juice of basil seeds is massaged on the scalp to get rid of infection and white flakes.
Anemia: A concoction of basil seeds is consumed or dried basil seeds are chewed to increase iron content.
Effect On Doshas
This incredible weight loss seed intrinsically showcases Madhura (i.e., sweet) Rasa and Snigdha (i.e., unctuous or oily) guna. It portrays Shita Virya (cold potency) and Madhura Vipaka (sweet metabolic property). Owing to its sweet and oily qualities, the magical seed pacifies Vata (air) and Pitta (fire and air) Doshas and owing to Shita Virya, it might aggravate the Kapha (earth and water) doshas if consumed in excess. In accordance to the intrinsic properties and doshas, Sabja seeds also showcases a positive effect on the various Dhatus (i.e., body tissues) which are Rasa (i.e. Plasma), Rakta (i.e., Blood), Mamsa (i.e., Muscles), Asthi (i.e., Bones) and Shukra (i.e., Reproductive Fluids).
Sabja Seeds - A Good Alternative For Chia Seeds:
Sabja seeds are little bigger than chia seeds but almost have the same nutritional profile. The only prominent difference is that chia seeds contain more than two-times omega -3 fatty acids when compared to sabja seeds. Both the seeds swell up and form a gel when soaked, but sabja seeds swell faster and larger in size than chia seeds. Both typically have a bland flavour and can be incorporated into recipes like smoothies and baked foods. Chia seeds can also be consumed dry, while sabja seeds cannot be eaten dry as they are hard to chew.
Ways To Use Sabja Seeds
Sabja seeds are best relished when soaked in water, they swell at the touch of water and form a translucent white film coating each black seed. Warm water helps the seeds to completely swell up steeping the potent antioxidants and digestive enzymes.
To soak sabja seeds take about a cup of water, add 1 tablespoon of sabja seeds and allow it soak for about 15 minutes. The seeds swell up, approximately three times its size and the gel-like outer layer turns grey. The centre part of the soaked sabja seed remains black, which is crunchy to chew. Strain the soaked sabja seeds and add them to your favourite dishes. Pre-soaking is not required if the recipe has a lot of liquid.
Sabja seeds are used for making smoothies, milkshakes, lemonade, soups, salad dressing, yogurt, pudding, oatmeal, pancakes, pasta, baking bread and muffins for a nutrition boost. While using sabja seeds in baked goods, simply grind them and you can very well replace a part of the flour then adding them soaked.
In addition, soaked sabja seeds can be used as an alternative to replace eggs in baked foods. To replace egg use 1 tablespoon of soaked sabja seeds in 45 ml of water.
Sabja Seed Recipes:
Sabja seeds are a must-have ingredient in the world cuisine, especially in desserts. These gelatinous seeds add taste, flavour to the dish and go well with fruits, ice-cream.
Check out these two easy-to-make, sabja seed recipes that can be served to your guests without worrying about calories.
Sabja seeds falooda is quite a popular dessert item in many parts of our country. It is served with rose milk, fresh fruits and is an absolute delight, if you have sweet tooth.
500 ml chilled milk, full fat
3 tsps of soaked sabja seeds
2 tsps rose syrup or roohafza
½ cup falood or sev, soaked in water for 2 hours
150 grams sugar
5 scoops vanilla ice cream
50 grams tutti-frutti
Fresh cut fruits like apple, grapes, banana and ripe mango
Add sugar to the chilled milk and stir till it dissolves.
Wash soaked falooda, drain the water and keep it aside.
In a medium size pan, boil falooda till it turns soft.
In large serving glasses, add sabja seeds and roohafza
Pour chilled milk, add falooda, sprinkle tutti-frutti, add freshly cut fruits.
Place a scoop of icecream
Add more sabja seeds as a topping
Milk and ice cream are rich in calcium, phosphorous and protein, while fresh fruits and tutti frutti provide vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, Vitamin C and antioxidants. Sabja seeds not only add taste but keep you satiated for longer hours.
Sabja Seeds Overnight Jar:
Overnight breakfast jars are your quick fix on a busy day. Make these ready the previous evening and carry it to your office. Tasty and delicious, these sabja filled breakfast jars provide you with great energy levels to kickstart your day.
30 grams of oats
250 ml low fat milk
2 tsps of soaked sabja seeds
1 tsp finely chopped cashew
1 tsp slivered almond
1 tsp walnut, finely chopped
1 tsp dates
1 tsp raisins
1 fresh banana cut
½ apple sliced
In a small glass jar, add milk and oats
Add sliced banana and apple
Top it with cashew, almonds, dates, walnuts and raisins
Pour soaked sabja seeds on the top
Gently stir in a spoon
Keep the jar overnight in the fridge
Consume it the next morning as a breakfast
Oats are rich in fibre just like sabja seeds. Consuming it daily aids in digestion and in relieving other stomach related issues. Banana and apple are powerhouse of vitamins while nuts are loaded with nutrients, essential fats and boost immunity, memory. Milk is a source of calcium and protein that can keep you energized for rest of the day.
Like any other ingredient, sabja seeds too come with its own share of adverse effects. It may suddenly down the heart rate and blood pressure. Studies reveal that it can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and infertility in men. If you are pregnant, lactating mother talk to your doctor if you can consume these seeds. If you are planning to include it in your child’s diet, ask for pediatrician’s opinion.