Sesame seeds are a solid source of essential vitamins and minerals, making them a great addition to a balanced diet. They are also versatile AF and taste great on tons of sweet or savory dishes.
Here’s a rundown of the top 10 benefits of sesame seeds along with delicious ways to add them to your diet.
Don’t let their size fool you. Sesame seeds are nutritional superstars. Here is an overview of the top 10 benefits.
1. Good source of fiber
Fiber isn’t just great for consistency 💩. Getting enough dietary fiber could reduce your risk of:
- breast cancer
- heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- digestive conditions like diverticular disease
It’s a hard-working nutrient!
Eating more sesame seeds is a great way to increase your fiber intake. In 2 tablespoons of dried whole sesame seeds, there are 2.12 grams (g) of fiber. Not too bad!
2. Rich in B vitamins
Sesame seeds and their shells are rich in B vitamins like thiamin, niacin and vitamin B6. That’s great news since these healthy nutrients help your body:
- convert food into energy
- create new blood cells
- keep your skin and tissues healthy
Psst. Research also shows that the B vitamin complex can help your brain function optimally. Phew!
3. Impressive source of vegetable protein
Vegetarians and vegans, rejoice! Sesame seeds are a powerful source of vegetable protein. A serving of 2 tablespoons contains 3.18 g. Protein helps your body function in many important ways. It can help:
4. Filled with Antioxidants
Sesame seeds contain plant compounds called lignans. These antioxidants may help protect your cells from damage and may reduce your risk of certain diseases. They are also high in gamma-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E believed to reduce the risk of heart disease. But we need more research to show that this is legit.
5. Could be good for your heart
Sesame seeds have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. BTW, it’s the “bad” type of cholesterol that can increase your risk of heart disease.
In addition to lignan — which can help block cholesterol absorption — sesame seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid (aka ALA). Studies show that ALA may also help reduce your risk of heart disease.
6. May Lower Blood Pressure
Sesame seeds are a good source of magnesium, a mineral that can help lower blood pressure. Additionally, magnesium helps your body regulate nerve function and blood sugar levels. It also plays an important role in the production of proteins, bones and DNA.
7. May Benefit Bone Health
Sesame seeds are an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, manganese and zinc. All of these nutrients can help support bone health.
Remember that raw sesame seeds contain compounds like oxalates and phytates. These antinutrients may reduce the absorption of minerals. But you can get around this problem by soaking, roasting or sprouting your seeds.
8. May Fight Inflammation
Some evidence suggests that sesame seeds can help relieve inflammation. In a 2014 study, researchers found that people with kidney disease’s inflammation markers dropped by up to 79% within 3 months after eating a mixture of sesame, flax and pumpkin seeds daily. Note: We need more studies of sesame seeds alone to prove benefits.
9. May Help Regulate Your Blood Sugar
Sesame seeds are a low carb, high protein food high in healthy fats. They also contain a compound called pinoresinol which may help control blood sugar by lowering blood glucose levels. So, sesame seeds are a diabetes-friendly food that could help lower blood sugar. But again, we need more evidence.
10. Could boost the immune system
Sesame seeds contain many of the same ingredients you’ll find in dietary supplements. This includes vitamin B6, vitamin E, iron, zinc, copper and selenium. All of these nutrients can help support a healthy immune system.
Here is the nutritional breakdown for 1 tablespoon (9 g) of plain dried sesame seeds.
- calories: 52 calories
- protein: 1.6g
- fat: 4.5g
- crabs: 2.1g
- fiber: 1.06g
- calcium: 87.8 milligrams (mg)
- iron: 1.31mg
- magnesium: 31.6mg
- phosphorus: 56.6mg
- potassium: 42.1mg
- selenium: 3.1 micrograms (mcg)
You’ll find sesame seeds already added to many products, including loaves of bread, bagels, pretzels, and crackers. But you can also add these elegant seeds to your diet in many creative ways. Here are some tasty options:
- Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over a salad.
- Make black sesame soup, a popular Chinese dessert.
- Sesame oil can add rich flavor to stir fries or fried rice.
- Sprinkle over vegetable or bean sides for added flavor and texture.
- Mix tahini, lemon juice and honey for a delicious salad dressing or vegetable dip.
- Add to dukkah, an Egyptian mixture of seeds and spices that is delicious with bread and olive oil.
- Dip sticks of raw vegetables in tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, or spread it on toast.
- Add whole sesame seeds to a breading mixture. It will add extra crunch to everything from chicken cutlets to seared tuna.
Sesame seeds tend to be a safe addition to most balanced diets. But before you kill a sesame seed bagel, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Sesame seed allergies
Sesame seed allergies are very common. Common symptoms include:
A doctor or allergist can confirm a sesame allergy with a skin test. People with a sesame seed allergy should avoid sesame seeds in all forms. Bad news: This includes tahini, a popular ingredient in hummus recipes.
People who have digestive issues — like Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) — might need to limit high-fiber foods. Remember that everyone’s gut is different. Sesame seeds may bother some people more than others.
You may want to avoid eating seeds if you have diverticulitis. It is an infection or inflammation of one or more pockets of the digestive tract. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, nausea, poo problems, and fever. The good news is that you may still be able to eat sesame products like sesame oil or tahini.
Sesame seeds have a host of proven health benefits and many that scientists are still discovering.
They may be small, but these seeds contain the nutrients your body needs. They are also delicious and versatile, suitable for a range of savory and sweet dishes.
While people with certain health conditions may need to stay away, most people can just eat without a problem.