If you’ve ever tried making hummus without tahini (sesame seed paste) you’ll have come to appreciate its role in making it so delicious – but there’s a whole lot more to these nutty little nutrient-dense seeds than middle-eastern dips, toppings on bagels, sushi or those internationally renowned “Sesame Snaps”! Believed to have originated from Africa and more commercially cultivated in India, the sesame seed is one of the oldest oil crops known. They’re an incredibly versatile addition to a vast array of dishes, so let’s discover why your body will benefit from their consumption with our Top 5 Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds!
1. Prevent cardiovascular illness
Sesame seeds are a great source poly and monounsaturated fats, in almost equal parts. As with most cardiovascular conditions, saturated fats should be limited (sesame seeds contain a moderate amount of them), but consuming small amounts of sesame seeds may lower LDL cholesterol and prevent high blood pressure, due to the inclusion of two substances known as ‘sesamin’ and ‘sesamolin’. Both substances are powerful antioxidants, making it difficult for detrimental conditions to develop in the first place.
2. Improve vitamin E absorption
Vitamin E is known for its benefits in cholesterol balancing, hair thickening and hormonal regulation, however the body often metabolises some of its intake from foods. When vitamin E rich foods are consumed in combination with sesame seeds however, the body is able to increase vitamin circulation by over 50%, due to the high levels of sesamin present in the seeds – the same substance responsible for maintaining a healthy heart.
3. Aid digestion
Black sesame seeds (unhulled) are most commonly consumed in Indian and Far-Eastern cuisine. While their appearance may not be as typically desirable as their creamy alternatives, they have been demonstrated to benefit digestion due to their high dietary fibre content, in addition to their high unsaturated fatty acid content. Digestion is made easier when soaked, making them a logical addition to your next batch of overnight oats.
4. Healthy skin
In addition to the benefits on bone and connective tissue, collagen helps to reduce wrinkles and prevent skin problems. Sesame seeds are rich in copper (the body can’t produce copper endogenously) which contributes to the organic production of collagen. Sesame seeds are also a rich source of iron, which helps to prevent dark circles under the eyes and ‘paleness’ due to mineral deficiencies.
5. Vegan protein source
If you’re following a vegan diet and struggling to meet your RDA of 50-55 grams of protein per day, then sesame seeds are a great way to increase your intake, hardly without you even noticing. Sprinkling just 2 tablespoons on top of your roasted vegetables will increase your protein consumption by approximately 5 grams.
Whether you’re seeking an alternative cooking oil for your stir-fry, a creamy tahini-based salad dressing, or to add some crunchy texture to your tofu teriyaki, sesame seeds are a versatile, nutrition-packed natural wonder that offer you a full spectrum of benefits. No wonder the birds are always singing…Got a sesame seed recipe? Tell us below or @KeepfitKingdom !