Sesame seeds that have been in cultivation for thousands of years are perhaps the oldest oil-rich seeds. Known as the ‘queen of oil seeds’, strongly endorsed by Ayurveda and other traditional forms of medicine for stimulating body heat, energy, and skin, hair benefits, these tiny seeds are a must-have in every Indian household.
Grown in the pods of Sesamum indicum (botanical name), a flowering plant mostly found in the tropical regions of India and Africa, sesame is a cash-rich crop that can withstand severe drought conditions.
Include a spoonful of sesame in your daily diet for its antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-cancerous properties, among others.
It protects your liver health, serves as a gastroprotective factor besides restoring hormonal balance in women.
Sesame seeds are a powerhouse of protein for building muscle mass, oil, mineral ash, fiber, soluble carbohydrates, phytate, a host of B vitamins, and dietary minerals like magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, and phosphorous.
These tiny, oily seeds are available in the market in various avatars. One can find them unhulled – with intact edible and outer husk, hulled ones without the husk, black sesame seeds, roasted ones in golden brown color.
Choose any variety and include them in your daily diet to derive numerous health benefits.
Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds
1. Rich Source of Fiber
Sesame seeds are an amazing source of fiber. Around 30 grams of unhulled sesame seeds provide you with 3.25 grams of fiber amounting to 12 percent of referred daily intake. A good amount of fiber intake promotes digestion, prevents certain types of cancers, provides heart health, reduces the risk of obesity, and controls type 2 diabetes.
2. Healthy Bones
Regular consumption of sesame seeds along with hull provides good amounts of calcium, especially for women which in turn contributes to healthy bones. Since, these seeds contain natural compounds like phytates and oxalates that may slow down the absorption of nutrients in the body, eat them after roasting, soaking, or sprouting. This will reduce the concentration of these natural compounds by at least half, facilitating more nutrient absorption.
3. Heals Inflammation
Various studies reveal that sesame seeds top the list of anti-inflammatory foods, thanks to sesamin a rich compound found both in seeds and oil. Chronic inflammation can lead to obesity, cancer, and ups the risk of heart diseases and kidney ailments.
4. Reduces Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Sesame seeds possess around 15 percent of saturated fats, 39 percent of monounsaturated fat, and 41 percent of polyunsaturated fat. Higher amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats along with two plant compounds – lignans and phytosterols widely present in the seeds control the levels of bad cholesterol. Doctors recommend eating around 40 grams of sesame seeds daily, to witness around 10 percent of the reduction in total triglycerides.
5. Rich Source of Vitamin B
Many vegetarians are reportedly Vitamin B deficient. B vitamins are responsible for various bodily functions like boosting metabolism and regulating cell function. Around 30 grams of both hulled and unhulled sesame seeds provide 19 percent of thiamine, 11 percent of niacin, and 14 percent of vitamin B6 and help you in meeting your daily dose of vitamin B.
6. Fights Oxidant Stress
Consuming sesame seeds regularly increases anti-oxidant activity in the blood, works against oxidative stress and prevents various chronic diseases. In fact, these seeds are also a rich source of gamma-tocopherol, a type of vitamin E that provides good skin health.
7. Improves Immunity
These seeds are a rich source of various nutrients like selenium, copper, zinc, iron, vitamin B6, vitamin E that play a crucial role in the production of white blood cells to fight infections. If you are suffering from zinc deficiency, eat these nutty seeds to boost the levels.
8. Plant Protein
Sesame is a rich plant protein source and a serving of 30 grams can provide you with 5 grams of protein. Studies reveal that hulled and roasted seeds are high on protein as the process reduces the amounts of oxalates and phytates that can interfere with nutrient absorption. Take these seeds daily to build healthy muscles and stronger bones.
9. Controls Blood Pressure
Studies reveal that the compounds sesamin and sesamolin present in sesame oil aid in reducing blood pressure naturally and also decrease the strain on the cardiovascular system. Sesame seeds are filled up with magnesium up to 25 percent, a potent vasodilator used in lowering blood pressure and it plays a vital role in protecting cardiovascular health.
10. Manages Diabetes
A journal published by Clinical Nutrition claims that a therapy involving both sesame oil and anti-diabetic medication lowered blood sugar levels by 36 percent. Magnesium present in these seeds not only lowers blood pressure but also prevents a sudden spike in blood sugar levels.
Magnesium and phytate exhibit strong anti-carcinogenic properties. Eat these seeds to reduce the risk of breast, lung, pancreatic, prostate, and colorectal cancers.
12. Irregular Periods
Oligomenorrhea or irregular periods is a common problem faced by many women. Irregular periods cause hormonal imbalance, stress, fatigue and it is important to regulate the menstrual cycle. Sesame seeds are filled with lignans that can control excess hormone production. Dry roast seeds and grind them along with jaggery powder. Eat this mixture daily during the second half of your menstrual cycle.
A spoonful of sesame seeds is all you need if you are suffering from PCOS and weight gain. These seeds rich in calcium, zinc, magnesium and loaded with protein are also low on carbohydrates. As a result, these seeds don’t spike insulin levels, regulate hormone disorders. Toss it in a hot pan and eat it daily in the morning to get rid of PCOS.
14. Weight Loss
Rich in protein, til seeds help in increasing metabolic rate, control appetite, prevent intake of excessive calories thus helping to lose weight. Adding these seeds in your salad provides much-needed fiber that aids in promoting gut health.
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