12 Nutritional Benefits of Sesame Seeds

by John Staughton last updated -

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The potent nutritional benefits of sesame seeds include their ability to prevent cancer, improve heart health, lower blood pressure, build strong bones, treat male infertility, and prevent diabetes. They also help cure sleep disorders, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, boost respiratory health, and aid in dental care. These seeds also improve blood circulation, detoxify the body, and eliminate depression and chronic stress.

What are Sesame Seeds?

Sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum) are tiny edible seeds that are extremely beneficial for health but are often overlooked. They are the seeds of a plant of the Sesamum genus, native to India and Africa. Sesame seeds are considered the oldest oilseed crop in the world and have been cultivated for more than 3,500 years. These seeds have a nutty flavor and they can be purchased either shelled or unshelled. They are commonly added to salads as an ingredient or topping for bread and grain products, crackers, sushi, cakes, soups, breading for fish and meat, and a wide variety of other applications. Also, sesame seed oil, derived from the seeds, is a rich source of nutrients with laxative and emollient properties.

The seeds themselves are very small, only 3-4 mm long and 2 mm wide, yet 3.85 million metric tons are produced every year. The seeds are initially in a black hull inside a pod, so once they are removed, they must be stripped of their shell. They come in a wide variety of colors, depending on the variety or strain of the sesame plant.

Watch Video: 13 Amazing Benefits Of Sesame Seeds

Nutrition Facts

Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, dried
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]4.69
Energy [kcal]573
Protein [g]17.73
Total lipid (fat) [g]49.67
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]23.45
Fiber, total dietary [g]11.8
Sugars, total [g]0.3
Calcium, Ca [mg]975
Iron, Fe [mg]14.55
Magnesium, Mg [mg]351
Phosphorus, P [mg]629
Potassium, K [mg]468
Sodium, Na [mg]11
Zinc, Zn [mg]7.75
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]0
Thiamin [mg]0.79
Riboflavin [mg]0.25
Niacin [mg]4.52
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.79
Folate, DFE [µg]97
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]0
Vitamin A, IU [IU]9
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.25
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]0
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]6.96
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]18.76
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]21.77
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Sesame Seeds Nutrition Facts

Sesame seeds are a rich source of natural oils, lignans, antioxidants, protein, dietary fiber, and minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. They also contain thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, zinc, copper, riboflavin, and vitamin E.

Additionally, these tiny seeds are packed with potent amino acids like tryptophan and fat-burning polyphenols like sesamin and sesamol. Dr. Fereidoon Shahidi, a research professor at the Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada with over 600 published research papers, demonstrated considerable antioxidant activity of sesame products in one of his studies.

Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds

The wide range of health benefits of sesame seeds is explained in greater detail below.

Prevent Cancer

Sesame seeds are rich in oil-soluble lignans like sesamin and sesamolin, which are known for their antioxidative properties. Dr. Marjorie McCullough, Emory University, Atlanta, US, in one of her studies, concluded that dietary lignans play a potential role in cancer prevention. Furthermore, sesame seeds have a high level of vitamin E, vitamin K, and magnesium, which have a powerful anti-carcinogenic effect on the body.

The seeds also contain phytate, a rare cancer-preventing compound that functions as an antioxidant and reduces the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that have been connected to many forms of cancer and various other conditions like heart diseases, premature aging, and cognitive malfunctions. Sesame seeds have also been positively linked to reducing the risk of leukemia, breast, lung, pancreatic, colon, and prostate cancers.

Sesame seeds are rich in antioxidants and protein

Skin Care

Sesame seeds contain zinc, a vital component in the formation of collagen, which strengthens the muscle tissue, hair, and skin. Also, sesame seed oil, rich in vitamin E, has been shown to reduce the appearance of burns and marks on the skin, as well as signs of premature aging.

Hair Health

Sesame seeds are rich in plant polyphenols which promote hair health. Sesame seed oil is often massaged into the scalp to reduce premature greying and boost hair growth because of the presence of vitamins and minerals. The amino acids and antioxidants in this oil help return the shine back in dull hair.

Boosts Heart Health

Natural oil-soluble plant lignans present in sesame seeds have been connected to a reduction in hypertension in a number of research studies. This, in turn, helps reduce the strain on your cardiovascular system and prevents various cardiac conditions. Julia Peterson et al. from Tufts University, Boston, US, in a research study, states that these bioactive phenolic plant compounds are in highest concentration in flax seeds and sesame seeds and in lower concentrations in other seeds, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Furthermore, magnesium has long been known as a vasodilator (an agent that reduces blood pressure) and these seeds are packed with this essential mineral, containing up to 25% of your daily requirement in a single serving.

Improve Digestion

Sesame seeds are packed with a significant amount of fiber, an important element in healthy digestion. It can reduce conditions like constipation and diarrhea, while simultaneously protecting the health of your colon and reducing the chances of gastrointestinal diseases and cancer. Fiber also works for your heart, by scraping out dangerous LDL cholesterol from arteries and blood vessels, thereby protecting against atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.

Manage Diabetes

The components of sesame seeds, like magnesium, have been connected to reducing the chances of diabetes and managing its symptoms in patients having already developed the condition. Furthermore, it has been shown that sesame seed oil can positively affect the impact of various medications like glibenclamide in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. It improves this medication’s functionality and further regulates the insulin and glucose levels in the body, thereby helping to manage the symptoms of diabetes.

Boost Bone Health

Sesame is the richest source of most of the inorganic nutrients, says a report published in the Journal of the American Oil Chemists Society. The impressive levels of essential minerals like zinc, calcium, and phosphorus found in sesame seeds can be a major boost for your bone health. These minerals are integral parts in creating new bone matter, and strengthening/repairing bones that may be weakened by injury or the onset of debilitating bone conditions like osteoporosis.

Improve Oral Health

Perhaps the most notable effects of sesame seeds are its powerful effects on oral health. The process called oil pulling, in which certain amounts of sesame seed oil is swished around the mouth can have a strong antibacterial and astringent effect on all aspects of oral health. It is also closely associated with reducing the presence of the Streptococcus bacteria, a common bacteria that can wreak havoc on your oral cavities and other parts of your body.

Prevents Infertility in Men

Sesame seeds, when added to the diet of men, improves sperm quality and increases male fertility. A study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences showed that 25 infertile men, aged between 27 and 40 years, were given sesame seeds for three months. They showed a significant improvement in their sperm count and motility.

Reduce Inflammation

The high content of copper in sesame seeds has a number of valuable functions, including the reduction of inflammation in joints, bones, and muscles, thereby reducing the associated pain of arthritis. Furthermore, copper is an essential mineral for strengthening the blood vessels, bones, and joints. Finally, copper is necessary for the proper uptake of iron, a key component of hemoglobin. Therefore, proper copper content in the body maximizes circulation and ensures that the organ systems of the entire body receive enough oxygen to function properly.

Protect Against Radiation

One of the organic compounds in sesame seeds, called sesamol, has been associated with protecting DNA from the harmful effects of radiation, as per a study cited in Cancer Biotherapy & Radiopharmaceuticals journal. This radiation could come from accidental sources or from the treatment of cancer by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. By protecting the DNA from mutation due to radiation, these seeds can boost strength and reduce the chances of contracting other forms of cancer due to cellular mutation.

Boost Metabolic Function

Sesame seeds contain a high amount of protein, which gets broken down and reassembled from its component parts into usable proteins for the human body. This adds to overall strength, healthy cellular growth, mobility, energy levels, and a boosted metabolic function. This is confirmed in a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.sesameseedinfo02

Eating Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds can be used in a variety of ways, either added as a sprinkled topping on salads or stews, mixed into bread, ground into a thin paste like tahini to be used in hummus or can even be blended into a powder and mixed with various smoothies. Sesame oil is also very popular and potent for natural health remedies, ranging from topical applications on the body to using the oil as a digestive or an anti-inflammatory substance.

How to roast Sesame Seeds?

You can roast or toast sesame seeds very easily, simply by spreading the seeds out in a pan (no more than 1 cup at a time) and ensuring that seeds keep moving continuously and don’t burn. You want a nice even brown color on the seeds, not black, and if you start to smell an acrid or strong smell, they’ve begun to burn. You can also set them on a baking sheet and cook them at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.

Where to buy Sesame Seeds?

You can buy sesame seeds at all major grocery stores and natural health food stores. Basically, sesame seeds are available everywhere, as they are one of the most popular types of seeds in the world. Ranging from GNC and Walmart to smallest herbalists and natural health practitioners, sesame seeds are easily sourced.

How to eat black Sesame Seeds?

You should soak the black sesame seeds in water overnight to make them easily digestible and you can then sprinkle them on your salads, in your yogurt, or even blend them into a smoothie.

Sesame Seeds Side Effects

The side effects of sesame seeds occur only when they are consumed in very large amounts. These include:

  • Allergy: Excessive consumption of sesame seeds can cause irritation in the stomach and colon.
  • Presence of THC: They can also show up on drug tests due to their small amount of THC.
  • Blood sugar levels: People who are diabetic need to be careful as sesame seeds can affect their blood sugar levels.

Note: Sesame seeds are not nuts, although many people treat them the same way. The reason for this is the presence of similar allergenic chemicals and proteins, which are also found in nuts. Therefore, if you are allergic to some types of nuts, it would be wise to speak to your doctor about sesame seeds.

About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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