Sesame seeds, available in black and white varieties, add a nutty and crunchy flavor and texture to your meals. The many sesame seed benefits help improve your skin, hair, and overall health.

They are commonly added to many Asian and Middle Eastern dishes and are known to increase longevity (1). With their mildly nutty taste, they not only make your meals more flavorsome but also enrich them with many important vitamins and minerals. There is no doubt these seeds are replete with beneficial properties.

You can use these powerful seeds as oil, paste, powder, or in a roasted form or even make them into desserts or ground and blend into gravies. Continue reading to know more about these tiny yet powerful seeds.

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What Are Sesame Seeds?

  • Sesame seeds are probably one of the first oil seeds known to mankind.
  • Sesame plant is a flowering plant belonging to the Pedaliaceae family. These seeds have the highest oil content among all seeds and a delicate, nutty flavor that becomes more pronounced when they are roasted under low temperature for a few minutes.
  • These seeds can be consumed in the raw or dried form, or even as roasted snacks. They are used as an ingredient in several cuisines.
  • Dry roasted sesame seeds are ground with olive into a thin, light brown colored paste, known as ‘Tahini’, which is a popular Middle Eastern dip. In Europe, they are commonly used in the manufacture of margarine.
  • There are several varieties of sesame seeds depending on the type of cultivar such as white, black and brown seeds.
  • White sesame seeds have higher iron content than the black ones and are mostly used as ingredients in food or in the form of oil.
  • Black sesame seeds are more flavorful and have a stronger aroma than white or brown sesame seeds and are preferably used in medicines. They contain 60% more calcium than the white ones.
  • White sesame seeds are hulled, whereas the black and brown ones retain their hulls.

Health Benefits Of Sesame Seeds

black sesame- and – white sesame

In addition to their culinary uses, these seeds possess nutritive, preventive, and curative properties, which render them usable in traditional medicines. Sesame seed oil is a rich source of phytonutrients such as omega-6 fatty acids, flavonoid phenolic antioxidants, vitamins and dietary fiber. These seeds, thus, offer a variety of benefits. The health benefits of sesame seeds include the following:

High Protein Vegetarian Diet

Sesame seeds are a good source of dietary protein, with high-quality amino acids making up 20% of the seed. Thus, they are perfect to form part of a high-protein vegetarian diet. Just sprinkle them over your salads, veggies, and noodles.

Prevent Diabetes

Sesame seeds contain magnesium and other nutrients that have been shown to combat diabetes. The usage of sesame seed oil as the sole edible oil has been been found to be effective in lowering the blood pressure and plasma glucose in hypersensitive diabetics

Cure Anemia

Sesame seeds, particularly the black ones, are rich in iron. Hence, they are highly recommended for those suffering from anemia and weakness.

Cardiovascular Health

  • Sesame seed oil prevents atherosclerotic lesions and hence, is beneficial for the heart health.
  • They contain an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound called sesamol that also exhibits anti-atherogenic properties, thus improving the cardiovascular health.
  • Sesame seeds are high in the monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, which helps in lowering the bad cholesterol and increasing the good cholesterol in the body. This prevents the risk of coronary artery disease and strokes.

Anti-Cancer Properties

Sesame seeds contain magnesium which has anti-cancer properties. They also contain an anti-cancer compound called phytate. Sesame seeds have proven to be effective in reducing the risk of colorectal tumors, thus preventing colorectal cancer. The sesamin in sesame seeds also may show anti-cancer action. This could be attributed to sesamin’s anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory, pro-apoptotic, anti-metastatic, anti-angiogenic, and pro-autophagocytic properties.

Digestive Health

Sesame seeds support a healthy digestive system and colon as they are rich in fiber. This high fiber content helps in smooth functioning of the intestine, thus facilitating waste disposal and relieving constipation.

Relief From Rheumatoid Arthritis

Sesame seeds contain copper, a mineral that is vital for antioxidant enzyme systems, thus reducing the pain and swelling associated with arthritis. Besides, this mineral provides strength to the blood vessels, bones, and joints.

Nullify The Effects Of Alcohol

Sesame seeds help the liver to decompose the harmful effects of alcohol as well as other substances that generate poisoning in the body.

Treatment Of Anxiety

  • Sesame seeds contain several nutrients that may have stress-relieving properties.
  • Minerals like magnesium and calcium act as an antispasmodic by regulating the muscle function i.e. contraction and relaxation.
  • Thiamin (vitamin B1) has calming properties that aid in proper nerve functioning. The deficiency of this vitamin can lead to muscle spasms, moodiness, and depression.
  • Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is involved in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that reduces pain and regulates the sleep pattern and mood. The inadequacy of serotonin production and transmission in the brain can result in anxiety and depression.

Lower Cholesterol

  • Black sesame seeds benefit in lowering the cholesterol levels. They contain two substances called sesamin and sesamolin, which belong to a group of fibers called Lignans, especially when taken along with stanolesters (chemical compounds known to reduce bad cholesterol levels) have a cholesterol lowering effect.
  • Black sesame seeds also contain plant compounds called phytosterols which have a structure similar to that of cholesterol. Their consumption not only decreases the blood cholesterol levels, but also reduces the risk of developing certain types of cancer.

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