Sesame is a flowering plant that grows abundantly in various parts of India and Africa. It also grows in various other countries like Nepal and Bangladesh where the weather is favorable. The seeds obtained from the sesame plant are known as sesame seeds and these are used in various cuisines across the world for their nutty, delicious flavour. White and black sesame seeds are both used in cooking. The health benefits of sesame seeds are huge in number and we focus on some of their health benefits in this article.
Sesame seeds are rich in nutrition and contain excellent amounts of Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. There are also rich in Vitamin B 6 and Dietary fiber. This combination of nutrition makes sesame seeds a great choice for all ages, especially for women.
Health benefits of sesame seeds
For heart health
Whole sesame seeds have high amounts of total phenolic content, antioxidants, free radical scavenging capacity and properties that can inhibition low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Due to these properties, sesame seeds can improve cardiovascular health with regular consumption.
To cure amenorrhea
Jaggery and sesame seeds can be mixed together and consumed to induce periods. The high levels of iron present in sesame seeds is also a factor that contributes to curing amenorrhea. You can consume a glass of milk after consuming sesame seeds with jaggery to reduce body heat. Also, this remedy takes at least 3-7 days to show results. So consume 4 teaspoons of sesame seeds with jaggery regularly to induce periods.
To lower bad cholesterol levels
The lignans present in sesame seeds help to modulate cholesterol metabolism. Various studies performed in rats have shown that the test subjects that were given sesame seeds regularly had reduced bad cholesterol levels.
“The results indicate that sesamin may be effective in preventing cholesterol accumulation in the liver.”
Source – Ogawa, H., Sasagawa, S., Murakami, T. and Yoshizumi, H. (1995), SESAME LIGNANS MODULATE CHOLESTEROL METABOLISM IN THE STROKE-PRONE SPONTANEOUSLY HYPERTENSIVE RAT. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, 22: S310–S312. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1681.1995.tb02932.x
In absorbing nutrients better
The compounds present in sesame help to absorb nutrients better. Hence, it is very effective as a complement to various recipes. Roasted sesame seeds are most effective. Simply garnish your recipes with roasted sesame seeds to get the best from your meal.
Sesame seeds contain Pyridoxine and methionine. These compounds have anti-carcinogenic, anti-proliferative and properties of chemoprevention of malignant transformation. They are also filled with anti-oxidants and free radicals. As a result, sesame seeds are very effective in the prevention of cancer.
To regulate blood pressure
Sesamin, the compound present in sesame seeds are anti-hypertensive. It can hence lower blood pressure, decrease lipid peroxidation, and increase antioxidant status in hypertensive patients. Using sesame oil instead of other cooking oils can thereby help in regulating blood pressure.
To manage pain due to rheumatoid arthritis
Anti-inflammatory property of sesame seeds helps to mitigate pain due to rheumatoid arthritis. Oil pulling using sesame oil can flush out toxins and at the same time reduce inflammation in the joints.
To reduce stress levels
As previously mentioned, anti-hypertensive properties of sesame seeds can also contribute in calming the body. It can help to reduce stress and soothe the system. A sesame oil massage can also help to calm nerves and relax the body from within. It is for this reason that sesame oil has always been used in Ayurveda for stress relief.
For glowing skin
Regular application of sesame oil or using sesame seeds as a face scrub can reduce sun tan, clear dark spots and solve the problem of hyper pigmentation. Traditionally, sesame oil has been used for massage (from infants to adults) for their skin-friendly properties. Sesame seeds can also help to treat sun-burns. Applying sesame oil over sun burns can immediately provide relief from the burns and act gently to cure them.
How to include sesame seeds in your diet?
Sesame seeds are flavourful and can be included in a variety of dishes. Dry roasted sesame seeds can be included in sandwiches, burgers and any such bread based recipe as a topping. They can also be mixed with sauces and used as spreads. In various parts of India, sesame seeds are sautéed with ghee and made into tasty desserts. These are called Til laddoos and are consumed to boost iron levels in the body and to cure amenorrhea.
Too much consumption of sesame seeds can increase body heat and hence it is recommended to consume sesame seeds in small quantities and always drink enough water to balance the body heat.
Sesame oil can also be used as a cooking oil. This oil is extracted from sesame seeds and is hence a very healthy option when compared to other cooking oils.