As of 2015, limited studies indicate that canary seed, or alpiste, has antioxidant properties similar to those offered by vitamin C and is high in protein, explains Pureza. Anecdotal evidence suggests canary seed supports the functioning of the heart, blood vessels, pancreas, kidneys and liver and aids in weight maintenance.
A one-half cup serving of canary seed contains 831 milligrams of potassium, 236 milligrams of calcium, 431 milligrams of magnesium and 112 micrograms of folic acid, according to Inkanatural. Canary seed is purported to prevent premature aging of the skin, reduce blood glucose levels, reduce liver inflammation, eliminate excess fluids from the body and prevent arteriosceleosis. Other unsubstantiated claims include that canary seed combats urinary tract infections, burns fat, lowers cholesterol and improves muscle tone. Because it contains the enzyme lipase, canary seed is said to remove fat deposits, making it effective in combating obesity. Pureza cautions that no scientific studies have demonstrated canary seed's positive effect on any human condition.
Canary seed meant for human consumption differs from that meant for consumption by birds, as explained by Pureza. Sharp fibers covering traditional canary seed have been linked to esophageal cancer when ingested by humans. A strain of canary seed has been developed that lacks these hairs, making it safe for human consumption.