Time and again we find ourselves rediscovering what wise men of earlier civilizations had discovered and documented. Take for instance sesame seeds, proclaimed as a great medicinal food by nutritionists and health experts of the 21st century. Sesame seeds, as it turns out, is the oldest seed oil condiment, first cultivated by man around some 5000 years ago. Its health benefits, too, were known quite yearly – 3600 years ago, to be precise.
So, in a way we are re-learning what was learned about 3600 years ago: sesame seeds provide many important health benefits.
However, to our credit, we are also learning new things about this amazing medicinal food. Thanks to numerous scientific studies, most of which were conducted in the last two decades, the list of benefits of sesame seeds now is longer and broader.
Before we take a look at the ten most important benefits that sesame provides, let us first glance over its nutritional chart.
The chart below shows the %DV (Daily Value) that 1/4th cup of sesame seeds (equivalent to 1 serving) provides for the listed nutrients.
- Copper – 73.5%
- Tryptophan – 37.5%
- Manganese – 44.5%
- Magnesium – 31.5%
- Calcium – 35.1%
- Phosphorus – 22.6%
- Iron – 29.1%
- Vitamin B1 – 18.6%
- Selenium – 17.6%
- Zinc – 18.6%
Calories (206) – 11%
As you can see from the chart, sesame is an extremely good source of many essential vitamins and minerals.
There are many ways for you to enjoy this gift from nature. Simply adding some organic sesame seeds to your salad and wraps, also try adding white or black sesame seed oil to your salad dressings.
You might be wondering now if black and white sesame seeds offer different health benefits. Well, let’s dive in deeper then.
Black Sesame Oil is powerful anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral. It has been used in the Ayurvedic tradition for thousands of years. It is known not only for its astringent qualities, but also as a strong anti-inflammatory and as a mineral and vitamin powerhouse.
Researchers Suggest Regular Consumption Can Help With:
- Unsaturated Fats: (Omega-3’s, Omega-6, and Omega-9) Essential elements of development and growth, neutralize oxygen radicals, plus help to treat and prevent many diseases. Molecules of Black Sesame Seed Oil maintain good Cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad Cholesterol (LDL).
- Vitamin E: Contains 75 percent of the recommended daily allowance in 1 oz. It also contains sesaminol and sesamin, which help increase vitamin E activity within the body. Vitamin E helps reduce the risk of heart disease and may protect the body from cancer.
- Vitamins B1 and B2: Helps sustain energy levels and healthy neurological function.
- Vitamin B3: Aids in maintaining nervous system and digestive health, as well as nourishing the skin.
- Vitamin B5: Essential for growth and development.
- Vitamin B6: Great for supporting the immune system, as well as enhancing oxygen binding of hemoglobin. It plays a role in the biosynthesis of four important neurotransmitters: serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine and gamma-aminobutyric acid. There is even anecdotal evidence suggesting Vitamin B6 may be associated with lucid dreaming.
- Vitamin B9: Assists with red blood cell health and repairing, methylating and synthesizing DNA.
- Minerals: Contains calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, selenium and zinc, all of which help support muscular and skeletal development and numerous other body functions.
- Antioxidants: Has the highest antioxidant content among plant oils. Able to penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream rapidly through the capillaries, it assists with quickly neutralizing oxidative stress.
- Lignans: Phytoestrogens with antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.
- Phytosterols: Aids in reducing levels of blood cholesterol.
Now let’s look at white sesame oil health benefits:
The above benefits do apply here as well but here are a few differences:
- Extremely rich source of calcium and are useful in all cases of calcium deficiency.
- Can be used as a nourishing tonic for the face.
- Can stimulate menstruation
a demulcent or soothing laxative and diuretic
Few other benefits worth mentioning:
Sesame seeds is beneficial to hypertensive patients
A scientific study, results of which were published in 2006 in the Yale Journal of Biological Medicine, declared that sesame seeds are beneficial for high blood pressure patients who are on either beta-blockers or diuretics.
Sesame seeds aids management of diabetes type 2
A scientific study, results of which were published in the esteemed Clinical Journal of Nutrition in 2011, revealed that sesame oil improved the efficacy of glibenclamide, a popular antidiabetic drug prescribed to diabetes type 2 patients. Another study, published in the same journal in 2006, revealed that hypersensitive diabetics who used only sesame seed oil and no other edible oil recorded a decrement in blood pressure and glucose.
Sesame prevents dental Plaque/gingivitis
In traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda, sesame oil is used for prevention of tooth decay, bleeding gums, dry throat, halitosis, and for improving the dental health. In Ayurveda, sesame oil is used in a procedure called oil pulling, which involves rinsing the mouth for 15-20 minutes with sesame oil. Recent scientific studies have confirmed that sesame oil, when used in this way, is nearly as effective as Chlorhexidine, a chemical antiseptic, in providing relief from plaque-induced gingivitis.
Sesame seeds can improve sleep in infants
According to a study, first published in 2000 in the Indian Journal of Medicine, massaging young babies with sesame seed oil improved their sleep as well as growth.
While no such study has been conducted for adults, sesame seed is believed to have a comparable effect on adults. The basis of this inference is sesame’s high magnesium content, which is known to improve sleep, besides providing several other health benefits.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you must add sesame seeds and white or black sesame seed oil to your diet. Use it regularly and enjoy the multiple health benefits that they provide.