Sesame seeds do not just have culinary uses but are extremely healthy and beneficial for the functioning of the body. They boast of multiple nutrients such as vitamin B1, calcium, iron, phosphorus, copper, manganese, magnesium, zinc, molybdenum, selenium and dietary fibre that are all much required by us. Read on to know more!
Sesame seeds, also known as ‘til’ in Hindi, are small, flat and oval-shaped seeds having a nutty taste and a slight crunch. They belong to the Sesame plant which is a flowering plant of the Pedaliaceae family. The seeds come in a number of colours including white, black, yellow and red – depending upon their variety.
White seeds of sesame have greater iron content as compared to the black ones and are usually utilized as a constituent in cuisines or in the form of oil. Black sesame seeds, on the other hand, have more flavour and a stronger aroma than their white and brown counterparts and are rather used in medicines. They hold about 60% more calcium than the white ones. White sesame seeds have their hulls removed while brown and black ones retain theirs.
Sesame seeds have a high content of sesame oil and can be consumed in their raw and dried form. Some also consume it as a roasted snack commonly called as til k ladoo, til ki chikki, etc. They are even used as an ingredient in cooking dishes. The flavour of the seeds gets enhanced when roasted for a couple of minutes at a low temperature.
Apart from the very traditional til k laddoo, sesame seeds are used to make a popular dip in the Middle East by grinding them with olive until it becomes a light brown coloured paste. In Europe, they are utilized in producing margarine.
Sesame seeds do not just have culinary uses but are extremely healthy and beneficial for the functioning of the body. They boast of multiple nutrients such as vitamin B1, calcium, iron, phosphorus, copper, manganese, magnesium, zinc, molybdenum, selenium and dietary fibre that are all much required by us. The health benefits of sesame seeds are covered in detail in the sections that follow. Keep reading!
Sesame seeds are available in 2 colours/varieties – white and black. The black seeds have a strong flavour and stronger aroma compared to the white ones which have a delicate flavour and can be used in all dishes.
Selection: You can find sesame seeds in small packs in the spice section of grocery stores or in bulk quantity. Whichever you purchase, make sure that there is no moisture in them and they smell right.
Storage: Sesame seeds have a high oil content due to which they get rancid quickly. So, it is better to purchase them in small quantities an consume quickly.
They can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to three months. Refrigeration and freezing will increase their life by six months and a year respectively.
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)
Sesame seeds do the following wonders to your health.
1) Keep cholesterol level in control:
According to recent research, the fatty acids and antioxidants found in sesame seeds and sesame oil, have powerful cholesterol-lowering effects.
Sesame seeds are ranked the highest amongst all nuts, seeds, grains and legumes for having cholesterol-lowering phytosterols which are plant sterols with a similar structure as cholesterol and work in the intestines to lower cholesterol absorption.
2) Protect heart health
Sesame seeds contain lignans which improve the lipid profile and normalise the cholesterol. Lignan help lower the cholesterol naturally by lowering both the serum blood and liver cholesterol levels.
3) Reduce hypertension
Sesame oil has been linked to reducing hypertension in many pieces of research. It is said to calm the cardiovascular system and thus reducing the risk of cardiac conditions. It contains Manganese which is known to reduce blood pressure.
4) Cancer prevention
Consumption of sesame is linked to prevention of cancer. Seeds contain phytate, which is an uncommon cancer-preventing compound which reduces the effect of free radicals. Free radicals are harmful by-products of cellular metabolism which are connected to causing cancer and premature ageing.
5) Boost bone health
The impressive level of zinc, phosphorus and calcium present in sesame seeds is highly beneficial for bone health. These minerals are responsible for generating new bone matter and in strengthening and repairing bones too.
6) Improve digestion
The seeds have a good amount of fibre which is a necessary element for healthy digestion. They bulk up the bowel movement and helps in the smooth movement of the food throughout the digestion process preventing conditions like constipation and diarrhoea.
7) Management of Diabetes
Magnesium in sesame seeds helps in preventing Diabetes and reduces the symptoms if the conditions have already been developed. Sesame seeds help increase the impact of medications like glibenclamide in case of type 2 diabetes. It also improves the regulation of insulin and glucose in the body.
8) Improve oral health
Consumption of sesame seeds helps improve the oral health as their oil is considered as anti-bacterial and an astringent and is used in a process called oil pulling wherein a small amount of sesame oil is run through the mouth to remove Streptococcus bacteria that wreck the oral cavities.
9) Respiratory Health
Sesame seeds contain magnesium which prevents asthma and other respiratory problems by stopping airway spasms.
10) Skin Detoxifier
Antioxidants in sesame seed oil help in cleansing your skin. When applied, the oil attracts oil-soluble toxins that can be later washed with hot water and soap.
11) Healing Properties
Sesame seed oil acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent with excellent healing properties. Its antibacterial properties help in removing pathogens like staphylococcus and streptococcus. It also helps in removing common skin fungi like athlete’s foot fungus.
1) Unhealthy body weight:
Small sesame seeds contain calories and saturated fat. So, consuming too much of them in your daily diet can make you gain unhealthy body weight.
2) Risk of Colon Cancer:
Excess consumption of sesame seeds can take a toll on your colon. Researchers say that consuming more than 15 ng (nanograms) sesame seeds a day can cause inflammation in your colon, which can cause fatal diseases like colon cancer.
3) Allergic Reactions:
Allergy is the common side effect of sesame seed intake. There are chances that you will develop different types of allergic reactions (like eye inflammation, digestive issues, asthma, runny nose, etc.) if you are sensitive to sesame.
Sesame seeds can cause diverticulitis. It is a medical condition, in which extremely painful ‘pouches’ form in the inner wall of the colon. It causes constipation, cramping and abdominal pain.