(BeWellBuzz) 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 nutrionists and health experts of the 21st century. Sesame seeds, as it turns out, is the oldest oilseeds and 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 relearning 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 copper, manganese, magnesium, tryptophan, and calcium and a good source of phosphorus, vitamin B1, selnium, iron, and zinc. Our body requires all these substances, in varied amounts, for functioning properly.
1. 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.
2. Sesame seeds reduces the risk of cancer
Sesamin, a lignin with phytoestrogenic properties and found in abundance in Sesame, is known to inhibit the development of different types of cancer cells, including:
- Colon Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Multiple Myeloma
- Pancreatic Cancer
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Sesame may offer protect against Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
In animals, sesame has exhibited strong capability to prevent Multiple Sclerosis. In the mice model of MS, it inhibited the secretion of IFN-gamma, which is determinant factor for this condition.
6. Sesame seeds may prevent Atherosclerosis
In an animal study, sesame has shown anti-atherogenic properties, which has led scientists to believe that it may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis in humans, too.
In the study, scientists fed mice an atherogenic diet, which included sesame seeds, to mice. Scientists revealed that sesame prevented the build-up of atherosclerotic lesions in mice. It is being proposed that in humans, too, sesame seeds will exhibit the same anti-atherogenic capability.
7. Sesame seeds 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.
8. Sesame seeds may prevent airway spasms in asthmatics
Sesame seeds are rich in magnesium. Magnesium, in turn, is known to prevent airway spasms in patients with asthma. So, it is natural for asthmatics to benefit from sesame seeds.
9. Sesame seeds may protect against Gentamicin-induced kidney damage
Gentamicin, a strong antibiotic used in treatment of several bacterial infections, can cause severe kidney problems. In rats, sesame seeds have exhibited strong capability to protect against kidney damage induced by this drug.
10. Sesame seeds helps prevent migraine and osteoporosis
Inadequate intake of calcium and magnesium, two minerals present in abundance in sesame, is linked to migraine. By allowing you to meet the daily requirements of these two essential minerals, sesame seeds provide relief from debilitating migraine headaches.
Calcium is also linked to bone health. Calcium deficiency is a determinant for osteoporosis. Increasing your calcium intake reduces the risk of osteoporosis considerably. With one serving of sesame seeds providing approximately 35% of daily value for calcium, it should be a must on the list of people who want to increase their daily intake of calcium.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you must add sesame seeds to your diet. Use it regularly and enjoy the multiple health benefits that it provides.