Sesame Seeds, which come from the plant Sesamum indicum, are a nutritious and flavorful addition to many dishes. They can be eaten raw or cooked and added to salads, curries, sauces and dips. In some cultures sesame seeds also have medicinal uses. In India they’re used for asthma relief while in China they’re prescribed as a remedy for sore throat pain.
Sesame seeds can be purchased whole or ground into sesame flour that is sometimes mixed with other flours such as wheat flour when baking breads and other baked goods like cookies and cakes. The oil extracted from sesame seeds is often used in cooking due to its high smoke point of about 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 Celsius).
One ounce (28 grams) of sesame seeds contains (23):
The benefits of eating sesame seeds include:
Your digestive system needs healthy bacteria to function properly. Fiber promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria.. The fiber content of sesame seeds can aid in digestive regularity and prevent constipation (8).
The seeds contain nutrients that promote healthy eyesight and protect against certain eye diseases.
Sesame seeds have been shown to reduce blood pressure by strengthening the lining of arteries which potentially reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease (1).
Additionally, sesame seeds are loaded with monounsaturated fats, which have been shown in studies to help reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels while maintaining HDL or “good” cholesterol levels. This can help lower your risk for cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease (4).
Sesame seeds contain nutrients that promote healthy skin and protect against certain skin diseases. The 2 main nutrients that promote skin health in these seeds are selenium and zinc (17).
Long-term, low-level inflammation may play a role in many chronic conditions, including obesity and cancer, as well as heart and kidney diseases. The seeds contain nutrients that may help reduce inflammation (3):
To make red blood cells, your body needs several nutrients — including ones found in sesame seeds.
The fatty acids found in sesame seeds make them an important part of many nerve cells.
Omega-3 fats serve as a vital component of nerve cell membranes and help maintain neuron communication. They also make up a large portion of brain tissue, where they protect neurons from damage and regulate genes involved in neuronal growth and death (14).
These seeds contain nutrients that support thyroid health:
Fiber and magnesium work to improve insulin function and help regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in your body. This can also reduce symptoms of hyperglycemia such as irritability, excessive thirst and frequent urination.
Sesame seeds contain nutrients that may help promote healthy lungs.
Sesame seeds contain nutrients that can help balance hormones during menopause:
Sesame seeds contain nutrients that may promote men’s health:
BetterMe app is a foolproof way to go from zero to a weight loss hero in a safe and sustainable way! What are you waiting for? Start transforming your body now!
As you get older, sesame seeds can help fight the effects of aging:
Consuming these seeds may cause the following side effects or reactions:
Eating sesame seeds can trigger an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to them (16).
Those who are allergic to sesame seeds may experience anaphylaxis, hives or hay fever symptoms after consuming even small amounts of the seed or its derivatives.
Sesame allergies are often confused with other food allergies but can also be mistaken for seasonal allergies since they share similar allergy-related symptoms.
If you suspect that you are allergic to sesame, consult your doctor before consuming any foods that may contain it.
People with peanut allergies are often cross-sensitive to sesame allergies. If you have both conditions, you should carry an epinephrine auto injector with you at all times for emergency self-treatment if needed.
Also, individuals with sesame allergies are also likely to report other allergies such as asthma, eczema and protein induced enterocolitis (16).
As with any change to your diet, check with your doctor before including sesame seeds as a dietary supplement. People who are allergic to sesame may experience serious side effects from even small amounts of the seed or its derivatives.
Consuming too many seeds can result in diarrhea and stomach cramps.
Enjoying too many sesame seeds, especially along with other copper-rich foods and supplements, can cause you to exceed an upper limit for daily consumption of copper. High levels of copper can be toxic in adults and may even cause death (2).
Consuming too much sesame seed may also prohibit absorption of nutrients such as protein. This is because sesame seeds contain anti nutrients such as Trypsin Inhibitor (TIA), lectin, tannin, phytin, saponin and oxalate (7). The roasting process typically reduces or breaks down these compounds. If you are consuming sesame seeds in moderation, you shouldn’t have a problem.
Pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding should avoid eating large quantities of raw sesame seeds (22). This is because there isn’t enough reliable information to know if sesame is safe to use when pregnant or breastfeeding.
Hulling is the process of removing the seed’s hard outer shell, or hull.
Hulled seeds are often easier to digest and may even be less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.
Unhulled sesame seeds retain all their nutrients and fiber (9). The only difference is that they also contain a small amount of phytate: A compound that can reduce the absorption of iron, calcium and magnesium.
Hulled sesame seeds are also typically less expensive than unhulled varieties, so if you are trying to cut costs without sacrificing nutrition, choose hulled varieties when available.
Sesame seeds are a versatile addition to any diet. Here are some ways you can enjoy the rich nutrition from these seeds:
Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of salads, rice and yogurt. You can also add them to baked goods such as breads and bagels.
Grind raw sesame seeds into a powder that you can then use to make your own tahini sauce. Tahini is typically made with unhulled sesame seeds, so you can either roast your raw sesame seeds for approximately 10 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit or toast them in a dry pan over medium heat to imitate the flavor of tahini.
Enjoy roasted and salted sesame seeds on their own as a snack. Roasting sesame seeds brings out their flavor while also rendering them more digestible than raw varieties.
Use healthy oils when roasting sesame seeds, such as olive oil or coconut oil.
When you toast the seeds in the oven, place them on a baking sheet and roast at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes or until they begin to brown just slightly.
Be mindful of how much salt you add to your roasted seeds because they already contain a small amount.
Intense sweat sessions, working weight loss tips, lip-smacking recipes come in one package with the BetterMe app. And all of it is at your fingertips, start transforming your life now!
Sesame seeds may be relatively high in fat, but most of these fats are heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated that can help reduce cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease. Additionally, sesame seeds are rich in other nutrients, including protein, thiamine and magnesium (28).
However, like most foods, these seeds are good for you when eaten in moderation. Because they are so small, it’s easy to underestimate exactly how much you eat at a sitting.
For instance, you may easily pour out a tablespoon of sesame seeds onto your salad without thinking about it. A tablespoon contains more than 100 calories and almost 4 grams of fat.
If you are trying to lose weight or avoid certain health conditions like high cholesterol, then make sure to monitor your intake of sesame seeds to ensure that you do not overindulge.
Below are some portion control tips:
Sesame seeds provide a healthy dose of protein and other nutrients, but they are also relatively high in fat. Therefore, it is best to eat them in moderation. At around 100 calories per tablespoon, sesame seeds can easily be overindulged if you don’t pay attention to how much you consume.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!