March 30, 2016 · Written by Foodtolive Team
Benefits of Sesame Seeds: Why They Make a Great Superfood
Sesame seeds are one of the healthiest foods you can find today. In fact, the benefits of sesame seeds are so numerous that everyone should be including them in their diet. There are absolutely no drawbacks to this particular food and even the cases of allergy are extremely rare. Add to this the fact that the seeds are delicious and can be used in a great variety of dishes, and you get a superfood that will make you stronger and your meals tastier.
Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds
The most important of the benefits of sesame seed is that they are exceptionally good for your general health. The many nutrients contained in this food provide your body with the elements it needs to be strong and some of them even help enhance your natural beauty.
Considering the fact that the seeds are extremely low in ‘bad’ fats, they can be even included in a weight loss diet. This would be a really good idea as they will help you prevent any dangerous nutrient deficiencies without compromising your fat burning goals. It also helps that you can’t really eat too much sesame in one go, despite the rich nutty flavor of the seeds. Their very nature makes them an amazing condiment and sesame oil is great for both cooking and making homemade cosmetics.
The most important health benefits of sesame seeds are:
- Lowering the levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.
Over 50% of fatty acids in the seeds are oleic acid, which naturally lowers the level of LDL cholesterol and boosts the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. This protects your arteries and generally strengthens your cardiovascular system, reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Normalizing blood pressure.
Some research indicates that sesame oil helps with hypertension treatment. One of the reasons for this effect is the high content of magnesium, which is an effective vasolidator. Therefore, regular intake of this food helps prevent numerous health problems caused by high blood pressure and significantly reduces the risk of stroke.
- Cancer prevention.
While there is no cure for cancer yet, scientists are looking for ways to prevent this horrid disease, and they’ve managed to prove that healthy eating is one of the most effective methods in this regard. The minerals and vitamins in sesame seeds provide you with nutrition that prevents deficiencies often associated with the increased risk of cancer. In addition, the seeds contain phylate, a rare compound that is considered one of the most potent antioxidants. It does not only reduce the risk of developing different forms of cancer, leukemia in particular, but also helps maintain your youthful appearance.
- Treatment, management, and prevention of diabetes.
One of the many benefits of magnesium that sesame seeds are exceptionally rich in is its ability to help prevent diabetes and manage the symptoms of the condition. Studies indicate that sesame oil boosts the efficiency of common type 2 diabetes medications, such as Glibenclamide.
- Osteoporosis prevention.
Large amounts of magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and calcium result in one of the most important benefits of sesame seeds, their ability to increase bone density and promote bone health. This reduces the chance of developing osteoporosis and promotes healing after fractures.
- Improved digestion.
Though tiny, the seeds are packed with fiber, so they help normalize bowel movement and generally stimulate peristaltic movement. This helps normalize the digestion process and can be a positive contribution to a weight loss program. You also need to take into account the fact that the nervous system is closely connected to the digestive system. Therefore, any problems with your intestines causes a general negative effect on your health as a whole. Keeping this part of your body functioning at 100% efficiency will make maintaining your high general health levels much easier.
- Reduction of inflammation.
Inflammation is one of the major contributors to almost every dangerous disease. Sesame seeds possess potent anti-inflammatory properties that help keep the inflammatory processes happening inside your body at bay. Note that there is always some measure of inflammation going inside your systems as it’s necessary for their function. Maintaining it on the normal level is the key to good health. The high content of copper in the seeds is the main reason why they are so good for this particular purpose.
- Protection from the radiation.
Considering the poor state of the environment, no one is completely safe from radiation today. Sesamol, one of the organic compounds found in the seeds, has proven to be an effective agent that can protect your DNA from radiation damage. Its effect is so strong that it’s even recommended for people undergoing radiotherapy. Some studies indicate that it reduces the chance of cell mutation caused by exposure to radiation.
- Improved oral health.
Sesame oil has been celebrated as an effective oral remedy for centuries. However, few understand that eating seeds is as beneficial as treating sores with oil because you extract some amount of the precious healing liquid with your teeth while chewing. The potent anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of sesame protect you from the bacteria wreaking havoc in the tooth cavities and even help fight bad breath.
- Enhanced beauty.
The beauty effect of this food definitely should be considered one of the health benefits of sesame seeds because they improve your appearance by healing and strengthening your body. This is a true definition of beauty that comes from the inside. This food provides you with large amounts of zinc, which plays an essential part in the formation of collagen. Therefore, consuming the seeds on a regular basis literally helps you slow down the passage of time for your skin, as it’s the destruction of collagen that causes wrinkles to appear.
How to Cook Sesame Seeds
There are a great number of ways to enjoy sesame seeds. Their delicious flavor goes well with a variety of dishes, so you will definitely find many uses for them. One of the most popular ‘dish’ made from this ingredient is sesame paste, also known as tahini.
Tahini is very popular in the Mediterranean region and at the Middle East. With the growing number of vegans and vegetarians it started spreading to other regions as well because it’s an excellent source of nutrition for those who choose not to eat meat.
Making sesame seed paste is very easy:
- Roast the seeds in a dry skillet.
The roasting process doesn’t diminish the benefits of sesame seeds but helps enhance the flavor.
- Put the seeds in a food processor.
Do this after the seeds have cooled completely. Any type of blender will do and you can even use regular mortar and pestle if you don’t have this type of electronic kitchen appliance.
- Grind the seeds into a paste.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil (olive, grapeseed, or sesame).
- Mix everything into a paste.
Add more oil if necessary.
- Store the paste in an airtight container in your fridge.
Aside from making tahini, you can add the seed to salads, desserts, and even marinades. They go extremely well when sprinkled on pastries before baking.
How Do You Toast Sesame Seeds
Toasting sesame seeds is very easy. You can do this in an oven or using a skillet. Quick toasting entails putting dry seeds on the baking sheet or a skillet and roasting them for about 3 minutes.
If you want to be more thorough to free even more of the enticing rich flavor, you will need to rinse the seeds with cool water before toasting them. In this case, the process will be a little bit longer.
No matter which method you choose, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the seeds to ensure thy don’t burn. Both cooked and raw sesame seeds should be stored in the fridge to increase their lifespan. However, they will last for months even if you keep them in your pantry.
Where to Buy Sesame Seeds
To get the most benefits out of sesame seeds, you will need to eat seeds of the highest quality. In this case, you will be sure that the food really contains all the nutrients without any potentially harmful chemicals.