Sesame seeds might be tiny, but they’re loaded with nutrients. Get some organic sesame seeds in your life, and no, not via hamburger buns. Both the seeds and the oil are good sources of some pretty important nutrients like, manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fibre. Sesame seeds also contain unique nutrients that can have some superfood worthy effects on our health and wellbeing.
Sesame seed phytosterols can lower cholesterol
Sesame oil, which is mostly polyunsaturated fat has one of the highest concentrations of omega-6 fatty acids and contains two natural preservatives: sesamolin and sesamin. These unique substances, combined with the phytosterols found in the oil, have been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Not sure what phytosterols are? They are plant sterols that are structurally similar to cholesterol in our bodies that act in the intestines to lower cholesterol absorption. Because sesame seeds have very low systemic absorption and are already present in healthy diets, eating more phytosterols might be a very practical way to reduce coronary heart disease without drugs.
Sesame seeds can help you detox
Sesame oil contains a pretty powerful antioxidant called sesamin that scavenges free radicals in your body that cause oxidative stress and damage. Sesamin is also able to prevent the metabolism and degradation of vitamin E, also an antioxidant. So turns out, you can increase antioxidant levels in your body just by eating sesame seeds. In addition to boosting antioxidant levels and fighting free radicals, sesamin also increases blood and tissue levels of vitamin E, including the extra potent gamma tocopherol form, which helps fight inflammation in the body. Why is that important? Well, loads of health issues, from chronic pain and thyroid problems to cancer, are all rooted in inflammation.
Eat sesame seeds for glowing skin
Sesame seeds have a pretty decent amount of zinc, which helps produce collagen, giving your skin more elasticity and helping repair damaged body tissues. Back to those antioxidants, sesame seed oil contains antioxidants that help detoxify your skin. Sesame seed oil attracts oil soluble toxins when applied to the skin and draws them out, which can help keep your skin clear without the use of toxic pharmaceuticals. Here’s a natural cleanser you can easily make that won’t cost a lot either. Mix half a cup of organic sesame seed oil with half a cup of organic, raw apple cider vinegar and a quarter cup of water. Apply this cleanser to your skin every night after splashing your face with water.
They're good for your bones
A handful of sesame seeds contains more calcium than a glass of milk. If you don’t do dairy but make your own nut milks, throw a quarter cup of sesame seeds in the blender with the nuts to naturally fortify your nut milk with calcium. Also, the high zinc content of sesame boosts bone mineral density.
Hulled vs. unhulled
There is a little bit of controversy about sesame seeds and calcium, because there is a substantial difference between the calcium content of hulled versus unhulled sesame seeds. When the hulls remain on the seeds, one tablespoon of sesame seeds will contain about 88 milligrams of calcium. When the hulls are removed, this same tablespoon will contain about 37 milligrams (so about 60% less). Tahini which is a spreadable paste made from ground sesame seeds makes an awesome substitute for butter and other nut or seed butters that might be loaded with sugars, salt and added oils. Look for the unhulled version so you don’t miss out on the calcium.
How to get sesame seeds into your diet
They’re not just for hamburger buns. Sesame seeds can be added to almost anything really. Sprinkle sesame seeds over your salads, stir fries, and soups. Coat your oven baked fries with sesame seeds for extra crunch, or crust your tofu with them. Use tahini as a substitute for butter or less nutritious nut butters.