One of the first oil seeds known to humankind, Sesame seeds add a nutty taste and a delicate, almost invisible, crunch to many Asian dishes. The benefits of sesame seeds are not just culinary, but this nutrient-dense condiment is good for our body as well. They are full of high quality protein. Protein makes up 20 percent of the seed with 4.7 grams of protein per ounce.
Sesame seeds are derived from an unremarkable plant of the Sesamum genus and bear the scientific name of Sesamum indicum. Sesame seeds are considered the oldest oilseed crop in the world and have been cultivated for more than 3,500 years. Evidence of their native forms both in Africa and in India places where they are still widely cultivated. It is extremely resilient and grows in places where many other crops fail, which is why it was so heavily relied on throughout the ages.
One tablespoon of whole sesame seeds has about:
- 52 calories
- 4 grams fat
- 1 gram carbs
- 2 grams of protein
- 4 milligrams copper (18 percent DV)
- 2 milligrams manganese (11 percent DV)
- 87 milligrams calcium (9 percent DV)
- 31 milligrams magnesium (8 percent DV)
- 3 milligrams iron (7 percent DV)
- 57 milligrams phosphorus (6 percent DV)
- 7 milligrams zinc (5 percent DV)
- 1 milligrams thiamine (5 percent DV)
Benefits of Sesame Seeds
The components of sesame seeds, including the vital magnesium, have been connected to reducing the chances of diabetes and managing the symptoms in patients having already developed the condition. Furthermore, it has been shown that sesame seed oil can positively effect the impact of various diabetic medications like glibenclamide in patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes. It improves this oral medication’s functionality and further regulates the insulin and glucose levels in the body, thereby helping to manage the symptoms of diabetes.
Decreases the Risk of Cancer
According to Dr.Ronald DePhino, Principal Investigator, M.D.Anderson Cancer Centre, Houston, the sesamin found in sesame seeds is found to protect the liver against the damage caused by free radicals in the body. Also, the seeds are rich in fiber, lignans (cell reinforcements) and phytosterol (phytochemicals), which can protect you against the development of colon cancer.
Good for Bone Health
Another reason for older men to make zinc-rich foods such as sesame seeds a regular part of their healthy way of eating is bone mineral density. Although osteoporosis is often thought to be a disease for which postmenopausal women are at highest risk, it is also a potential problem for older men. Almost 30% of hip fractures occur in men, and 1 in 8 men over age 50 will have an osteoporotic fracture. A study of 396 men ranging in age from 45-92 that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a clear correlation between low dietary intake of zinc, low blood levels of the trace mineral, and osteoporosis at the hip and spine.
Detoxifies Your Skin
The antioxidants present in sesame oil helps in detoxifying your skin. The antioxidants absorb all those water-soluble toxins, thus enabling detoxification. Prepare a concoction by mixing in ½ cup sesame oil with ½ cup apple cider vinegar and ¼ cup water. Wash your face regularly with this for a detoxified glowing skin.
Stimulates Hair Growth
Sesame seed are replete with essential fatty acids – omega-6, omega-3, and omega-9 – all that stimulate hair growth. Along with nourishing the scalp and promoting follicular production, the oil of sesame seeds keep the hair hydrated. Massage your hair with warm sesame oil regularly to penetrate in the scalp to increase blood circulation. This acts as a vitamin to feed the hair shafts.
How to Use Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds have numerous applications in addition to topping breads and buns, mixing into salads and stir fries and making hummus. Add sesame seeds to sushi rolls. Crust tuna or other fish with a combination of white and black sesame seeds and then sear. The Greeks use sesame seeds to make cakes and in Africa, sesame seeds are a primary ingredient in a sweet cookie. Sweet and savory Asian recipes from Japan, Korea and China often call for sesame seeds.