Black sesame is a small black seed also referred to as ‘Hei Zhi Ma’ in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It originated in Africa, and its oil was praised in Babylon and Assyria times some four thousand years ago. According to an Assyrian legend, the gods were even drinking sesame-based wine before creating the earth! It’s nutrient-rich, contains a high percentage of protein (about 20% of its weight) is rich in fibre, magnesium, and calcium. It also contains copper, zinc, manganese, selenium, molybdenum, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B and E and powerful antioxidants. Read on for these Top 5 Health Benefits of Black Sesame!
1. Encourages healthy skin and hair
The zinc present in the seeds helps to produce collagen, which is good for skin elasticity and repair of damaged body tissues. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is used to nourish the organs, especially the kidneys and the blood, which in turn nourishes your skin and hair.
2. Anti-ageing properties
Black sesame seeds are rich in vitamin B, iron and magnesium, and contain significant amounts of antioxidants, all of which help to slow down the ageing process. It is also used as anti-ageing food in Chinese medicine due to its positive effect on the kidneys and is used to reverse greying of hair, blurring vision, weak bones, joints and much more.
3. Heart healthy
Black sesame has a positive effect on your heart. One of its antioxidants, sesamol, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps to prevent atherosclerosis lesions. It also helps reduce blood pressure, protects against diabetic-influenced heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
The phytosterols (plant sterols) contained in black sesame seeds (the highest amongst all seeds and nuts) can help block the production of bad cholesterol, while a specific type of fibre, called lignans also contained in sesamin and sesamolin, have a significant cholesterol-lowering effect.
The magnesium, tryptophane, and thiamine that black sesame seeds possess also support the production of your body’s natural ‘happy drug’, serotonin, which has a positive effect on mood, sleep and pain perception.
Black sesame seeds can be consumed in their dried form, as a powder, pills or decoction and are easily available from your local exotic food store at a reasonable price. It is advised to consume between 10-30g per day, but the secret is probably to take it over prolonged periods of time. A Chinese saying goes: “Taking black sesame seeds can heal all chronic illness after 100 days, improve skin tone of body and face after 1 year, reverse grey hair after 2 years, and regrow teeth after 3 years”. Do you use Chinese food remedies? What have you found works for you? Let us know in the comments below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram. (Check out these other health and fitness Top 5’s to help you get YOUR Fit ON!)