Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds

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Black and white sesame seeds

Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds


Sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum) are tiny edible seeds of the sesame genus, native to India and Africa. They are believed to be the world’s oldest oilseeds, having been cultivated for over 3,500 years. These seeds have a nutty flavor and can be purchased both shelled and unshelled.

Flower of a sesame plant, Sesamum indicum
Sesame seed plant

It is often added to salads as a topping for bread, cereals, crackers, sushi, cakes, and soups, or as a breadcrumb for fish and meat. In addition, sesame oil extracted from the seeds is a rich source of nutrients with laxative and emollient properties. The seeds are tiny, only 3–4 mm long and 2 mm wide, and annual production per year is 3.85 million tons. These seeds are initially in a black shell inside the pod. Once removed, the shell must be peeled off. They come in a variety of colors, depending on the variety of sesame seeds.

Sesame is perhaps one of the oldest and most important spices recognized by mankind. Versatile and fragrant, it also comes in nutty variations. This seed adds a crunchy flavor to a variety of Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. It can also be used as an edible oil for sauces and dressings. Sesame seeds are also known for their flavor-enhancing properties.

Some of sesame’s powerful nutritional benefits include improving heart health and lowering blood pressure.  These seeds build strong bones, improve male fertility, and fight diabetes. It may also help cure insomnia, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, improve respiratory health, aid dental care, and treat depression and chronic stress.

Sesame seeds, black and white varieties
Black and white sesame seeds

Nutritional Information of Sesame Seeds

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, sesame seeds are rich in natural oils, lignans, antioxidants, protein, fiber, vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin E, and other minerals.

Nutrient Value, Serving Size: 100 g

Water [g]            4.69

Energy                   573

Energy [kJ]          2397

Protein [g]            17.73

Total lipid (fat) [g]            49.67

Ash [g]                               4.45

Carbohydrate, by difference [g] 23.45

Fiber, total dietary [g]                 11.8

Sugars, total, including NLEA [g] 0.3

Calcium, Ca [mg]              975

Iron, Fe [mg]                    14.55

Magnesium, Mg [mg]      351

Phosphorus, P [mg]          629

Potassium, K [mg]            468

Sodium, Na [mg]              11

Zinc, Zn [mg]                      7.75

Copper, Cu [mg]                4.08

Manganese, Mn [mg]         2.46

Selenium, Se [g]                 34.4

Thiamin [mg]                      0.79

Riboflavin [mg]                  0.25

Niacin [mg]                         4.52

Pantothenic acid [mg]         0.05

Vitamin B-6 [mg]              0.79

Folate, total [µg]              97

Folate, food [µg]              97

Folate, DFE [µg]               97

Choline, total [mg]         25.6

Carotene, beta [µg]         5

Vitamin A, IU [IU]         9

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherols) [mg]           0.25

Fatty acids, total saturated [g]                    6.96

14:0 [g] 0.12

16:0 [g] 4.44

18:0 [g] 2.09

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g] 18.76

16:1 [g] 0.15

18:1 [g] 18.52

20:1 [g] 0.07

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g] 21.77

18:2 [g] 21.38

18:3 [g] 0.38

Phytosterols [mg] 714

Tryptophan [g]     0.39

Threonine [g]       0.74

Isoleucine [g]      0.76

Leucine [g]          1.36

Lysine [g]             0.57

Methionine [g]     0.59

Cystine [g]           0.36

Phenylalanine [g]0.94

Tyrosine [g]        0.74

Valine [g]             0.99

Arginine [g]         2.63

Histidine [g]        0.52

Alanine [g]          0.93

Aspartic acid [g] 1.65

Glutamic acid[g] 3.96

Glycine [g]           1.22

Proline [g]           0.81

Serine [g]             0.97

Sources: USDA

In addition, these tiny seeds are also rich in powerful amino acids such as tryptophan and fat-burning polyphenols such as sesamin and sesamol.

Sesame seeds  benefits

The various health benefits of these seeds are detailed below.

Sesame Seeds are Beneficial for Skin  and Hair Health

Sesame seeds contain zinc, which is an essential component for collagen formation and strengthens muscle tissue, hair, and skin. In addition, sesame oil may contain vitamin E, which helps reduce skin burns and blemishes and helps prevent signs of premature aging.

Sesame seeds can improve hair health

Sesame seeds are rich in plant polyphenols, which may contribute to hair health. Their oil is often massaged into the scalp, and the vitamins and minerals it contains can reduce premature graying and promote hair growth. The amino acids and antioxidants in this oil also help restore shine to dull hair.

Back view of a woman with long straight hair
Long straight hairs

Sesame  seeds may improve heart health

Some research studies show that the natural oil-soluble plant lignans found in these seeds may help reduce high blood pressure. This reduces the load on the cardiovascular system and helps prevent various heart diseases. A research study published in Nutrition Review states that flaxseed and sesame seeds may also contain the highest concentrations of these bioactive phenolic plant compounds.

Additionally, magnesium has long been known as a vasodilator (antihypertensive agent), and these seeds may be fortified with this essential mineral. One serving of sesame seeds may supply up to 25% of his daily magnesium needs.

Sesame seeds are rich in fiber

Sesame seeds contain high amounts of fiber, which is an important factor for healthy digestion. It reduces symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea while protecting colon health and reducing the risk of gastrointestinal disease. Fiber also benefits the heart by removing dangerous LDL cholesterol from arteries and blood vessels, thereby acting as a protective agent against atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.

Sesame  seeds can treat diabetes

Sesame seeds may contain magnesium, an important mineral that reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. It also helps regulate blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity. In addition, sesame oil has been shown to positively influence the effects of various medications, such as glibenclamide, in patients with type 2 diabetes.

It can also be used to improve the function of drugs and regulate insulin and glucose levels in the body. Studies show that this process may help manage the symptoms of diabetes, as per research published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Sesame seeds  may promote bone health

Sesame may be the richest source of most mineral nutrients, according to a report published in the Journal of the American Oil Chemists Society. Amazing levels of essential minerals like zinc, calcium, and phosphorus go a long way toward keeping your bones healthy.

These minerals are essential for the formation of new bone mass and for strengthening and repairing bones weakened by injury or the development of debilitating bone diseases such as osteoporosis.

Sesame seeds may improve oral health

Perhaps the most notable benefit of sesame is its powerful impact on oral health. Oil pulling with sesame oil has powerful antibacterial and astringent effects on all aspects of oral health. It also goes hand in hand with reducing streptococci, a common bacterium that can wreak havoc on the oral cavity and other parts of the body.

Sesame Seeds May Increase Male Fertility

Adding sesame seeds to a man’s diet can improve sperm quality and increase male fertility. A study, published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, showed that they fed sesame seeds to 25 infertile men aged 27 to 40 for three months. They showed significant improvements in sperm count and motility.

Sesame seeds contain zinc, which is an important component in the formation of collagen.

Sesame seeds may reduce inflammation

Due to the high copper content in sesame seeds, it may help reduce inflammation in joints, bones, and muscles and help prevent pain associated with arthritis. In addition, copper is an essential mineral for strengthening blood vessels, bones, and joints. Finally, copper is required for the proper absorption of iron, an important component of hemoglobin.

Therefore, the presence of adequate levels of copper in the body maximizes blood flow and ensures that the organ systems throughout the body receive sufficient oxygen for proper functioning.

Sesame seeds may increase metabolic function

Sesame contains a large amount of protein, which is broken down and reassembled into proteins that the human body can use. This contributes to overall strength, healthy cell growth, mobility, energy levels, and increased metabolic function. This is confirmed by a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

Eat sesame seeds

photo-of-poke-bowl-with-salmon and sesame seeds sprinkled
Bowl of salmon and black sesame seeds

Sesame can be used in many ways. They can be consumed in the following ways:

  • Sprinkle as a salad or stew topping.
  • Mix into bread.
  • Grind into a thin paste of tahini.
  • Powder and blend into a variety of smoothies.

Sesame oil is also very popular and effective in natural medicine, from topical application on the body to use as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Bread sprinkled sesame seeds
Bread containing sprinkled sesame seeds


How can you roast sesame seeds?

Sesame seeds are easy to roast. Spread seeds in a pan (no more than 1 cup at a time). Make sure the seeds keep moving and don’t burn. Seeds should have a clean, even brown color. If you start smelling pungent or strong odors, you are on fire. You can also place it on a baking sheet and bake at 180 °C for about 10–12 minutes.

Where can I buy sesame seeds?

Sesame seeds are available at major grocery and health food stores. Basically, sesame seeds are one of the most popular seeds in the world, so they are available everywhere. Easily available with micro-herbalists and naturopaths, sesame seeds are readily available.

How do I eat black sesame?

Soak black sesame seeds in water overnight to make them easier to digest. You can also sprinkle it on salads, or yogurt, or mix it into smoothies.

Are there any side effects?

Side effects of sesame appear only when taken in very large amounts. These include:

  • Allergies: Excessive consumption of sesame seeds can cause gastrointestinal irritation.
  • Blood Sugar Levels: Diabetics should be careful as sesame seeds can raise blood sugar levels. Anyway, more research is required to support this claim.

Note: Many people refer to sesame as a nut, but sesame is not a nut. This is due to the presence of similar allergenic chemicals and proteins found in nuts. Therefore, if you are allergic to certain types of nuts, it is a good idea to ask your doctor about sesame seeds.

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