Sesame seeds are the oldest known oil seeds that hold its roots to Africa and India. Sesame seeds are widely grown and used crop in Asia and Africa. They have a distinct nutty and slight crunchy flavor that savors many dishes in East and Middle East. Their plants are small in height of about 2-3 feet; pods grow along the stem that contains seeds.
Sesame seeds are beneficial in many health conditions including diabetes, maintaining strong bones, keeping good heart health, protecting from tooth decay and plaque, controlling stress and depression
and many more. Sesame seeds contain good amount of oil which is high in lignans (sesamin and sesamolin) and „-tocopherol content. The presence of lignans and „-tocopherol makes sesame seed oil highly stable edible oil. Sesame seeds come as various genetic variants such as white, black, brown, grey red etc. depending upon the strain and the area where they grow.
Sesame seeds are used in many forms such as paste (also known as Tahini in Middle East), oil and roasted seeds in various preparations across the world. Looking at its high nutritional and therapeutic potential sesame seeds are attracting more researchers to analyse its properties and use in many chronic diseases such as Cancer and Rheumatoid arthritis
Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds
The benefits of sesame seeds have their roots from ancient Ayurveda to present day nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. Some of the health benefits are:Regulate blood pressure:
Sesame seeds contain magnesium and natural oils that are known to reduce hypertension
, thereby control blood pressure. Regulate cholesterol levels:
The lignans present in sesame seeds control cholesterol levels. Sesamin metabolises lipids and thus prevent the formation of atherosclerotic lesions in blood vessels. The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of sesame seeds, various nutrients control cholesterol levels and maintain good heart health.Maintains bone health:
Due to high calcium, zinc and phosphorus contents in sesame seeds, they are a great source of improving bone health. Regular intake of sesame seeds enhances calcium levels in the body thus making bones and muscles stronger. Sesame seeds are helpful to women suffering from low bone density and osteoporosis
.Maintain oral health:
Swishing sesame oil in the mouth all over the tooth and gums is known as oil pulling. This activity of oil pulling helps in reducing the dental plaques by interfering with the bacterial infection. It also whitens the teeth and protects gum from decay thereby promoting all round oral health.Prevent diabetes:
Magnesium and other nutrients contribute to the management of diabetes. Several researches have shown that sesame seed oil helps in regulating blood sugar levels and thus managing diabetes.Prevent cancer:
Attributing to the anti-oxidant properties of sesame seeds, the presence of nutrients like magnesium and iron, and several vitamins, they seem to reduce the risk of certain cancers such as colorectal cancers
. Sesame seeds contain an anti carcinogenic agent Phytate that has been proved to prevent cancer. Sesamin is known to posses potential anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties that prevent cancer.Boost digestive health:
Sesame seeds contain high amount of dietary fiber that helps in maintaining good digestive health. High fiber content allows proper absorption of nutrients and minerals through the intestines and thereby reduces diarrhea and constipation. It maintains overall digestive health by protecting intestines and colon against different infections and diseases.Prevent arthritis:
The anti inflammatory property of sesame seeds is because of presence of high amount of copper in it. This reduces the inflammation in bone and muscle joints and thus prevents arthritis. The other vital nutrients present in sesame seeds strengthen bones and muscles making them stronger.Protect from UV radiations:
Sesamol is a compound present exclusively in sesame seeds that helps in protecting against radiation damage. Sesamol prevents the damage caused to DNA due to radiations. Also dietary intake of „-tocopherol present in sesame seeds reduces the carcinogenic effects of radiations and protect against skin cancers. Keep skin and hair healthy:
Presence of certain minerals and antioxidants in sesame seeds keep our skin healthy and young. It reduces wrinkles and makes skin shinier. Also high content of zinc in it makes hair thick and healthy.Other benefits:
Ayurveda has some best kept secrets about sesame benefits. Sesame oil has been known as healing oil since ancient times. It is rubbed on the body parts to ensure better flow of energy and make body free from impurities. Mouthwash made out from sesame seeds is considered to be a great anti bacterial agent. Chinese and Tibetan medicine literature also shows these benefits of sesame seeds. Black sesame seeds are found to be good for eyes and liver.
Sesame has also been proved to reduce the bacterial resistance of certain antibiotics; this helps in better medicine efficacy and impact in infectious diseases.
Sesame Seeds Recipes
Sesame Seeds Laddu / Til Laddu
Til ke laddu
are popular Indian savory sweet that is made at the time of various festivals in whole nation.
- Servings: makes 5-6 laddus
- Preparation time: 20-30 min
- 1 cup sesame seeds (black/white)
- 1 cup jaggery
- 1 tbsp milk (as required)
- Roast the sesame seeds in a pan till they turn slightly brown.
- Now add crushed jaggery and roasted sesame seeds into a grinder and mix till it becomes soft and evenly mixed.
- Make small sized balls of the mixture, add milk if the mixture seems to be too dry to form the laddus.
- Serve the delicious laddus.
The Quintessential Tahini
is a classic Middle Eastern sauce made with sesame seeds. It is served with many dishes, salads, or as a spread on breads.Ingredients
- 1 cup Sesame seeds
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Roast the sesame seeds well on a skillet till they turn golden brown.
- Now take the roasted seeds in a grinder and add olive oil and grin well.
- Churn it till you get a smooth paste of desired consistency. Add more olive oil if required.
- Your homemade tahini is ready to be served with delicious salads or grilled veggies or as bread spread.
- Large consumption of sesame seeds may cause irritation in stomach and colon.
- Seeds should be stored in containers with no moisture. Hulled sesame seeds must be stored in air tight containers to avoid rancidity.
- Add sesame to breads, cakes and muffins to enhance their flavor and make them nutritious.
- Toasted sesame seeds could be easily added to salads, rice or grilled preparations.