Sesame seeds, a major source of food and oil, have been around for a very long time. In fact, the Egyptians once used them to create grain flour. The Romans also used sesame seeds to make a pasty spread for bread. Once thought to have mystical powers, sesame seeds are “magical” in a way. While they may be super tiny, their health benefits are big in more ways than one. Below, I explain how.
Reduces risk of cancer
Sesame seeds contain an anti-cancer compound called phytate. Found in all plants, studies have shown that it may boost immunity to certain illnesses like breast, colorectal and prostate cancer by inhibiting cell growth and increasing the differentiation of cancer cells.
Keeps cholesterol down
Sesame seeds are rich in oleic acid and phytosterols. Research has shown that both of these seed components can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol) in the blood. In turn, this can help reduce a person’s risk for coronary artery disease, stroke or heart attack.
Prevents stress and anxiety
Sesame seeds also contain tryptophan, an important amino acid that is a precursor for serotonin which is often known as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. It helps to regulate sleep-patterns and mood. A lack of serotonin in the body is sometimes linked to depression and nervousness.
Decreases blood pressure
Sesame seeds are made up of healthy fatty acids and antioxidants like sesamin, sesamol, sesamolin and oryzanol—all plant compounds linked to lower blood pressure. In 2012, the American Heart Association found that cooking with a combination blend of sesame and rice bran oils actually worked nearly as well as a commonly prescribed high blood pressure medication.
Sesame seeds contain magnesium and other crucial nutrients proven to help fight and prevent diabetes. In fact, a study published by the Journal of Medicinal Foods showed that the substitution of sesame seed oil lowered blood pressure and glucose in hypertensive diabetics.
Promotes weight loss
Adding sesame oils to a reduced-calorie weight-loss meal plan may help you shed those unwanted pounds. In a study in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine found that participants who consumed about 2.6 tablespoons of sesame oil daily lost a significant amount of weight—an average of 2.6 pounds in 45 days. However, they gained the weight back when they stopped taking it.
Boosts bone health
Sesame seeds are super rich in zinc which can help boost bone mineral density and prevent osteoporosis in the hip and spine area. Believe it or not—whole sesame seeds actually provide more calcium than a cup of milk. Calcium, of course, helps keep bones strong.
Improves oral health
Sesame seeds and sesame seed oil helps boosting oral health by removing dental plaque and whitening your teeth. A 2008 study showed that by swishing sesame seed oil in your mouth (also called “oil swooshing”), you can reduce the amount of streptococcus mutants in both teeth and mouth saliva. This, in turn, can decrease plaque buildup and gingivitis.
It’s important to note that you don’t have to consume a lot of sesame daily in order to take advantage of its many health benefits. Just a hand full of sesame a day or 100 grams provides enough recommended levels of minerals, vitamins and protein to get you on the path to a better you.
Remember to share this article with all of the people that you love, so that they can also benefit from this amazing seed.
Together we can make a happier, healthier world!