While enjoying a yummy hamburger in a Fast-food restaurant, you may have noticed tiny sprinkled off-white or light brown seeds on the top of the buns, giving a marvelous look to it. These might be sesame seeds, which give a nice look to your hamburger and a good nutty taste as well. Sesame is used in different food cuisines and bakery products like bread, burger buns, crackers, and many other sweets. In this article, we’ll explain the facts about sesame and some of sesame’s health benefits.
The plant’s name is Sesamum indicium. The word sesame is derived from the Latin word “sesamum” and the Greek word “sesamon”.
Sesame is a tropical flowering plant that is found all over the tropical regions of the world, but mainly in the African and Indian subcontinent. It contains many small edible seeds rich in oil and contains many nutrients. It is also cultivated for the production of oil in many parts of the world.
One very important feature of sesame is that it can grow in unfavorable environmental conditions where other crops are difficult to grow and hence called survivor crops. It is said that this is the oldest oilseed crop.
The height of sesame is 1.5 to 3.5 with white tubular flowers but in some sesame purple, pink or blue flowers are also seen. The color of the seeds is mostly off-white, but other colors like brown, gold, gray, and black are also present depending on the types of the plants.
Source =United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
100 grams of whole dried sesame seed contains the following important nutritional ingredients;
Energy = 573 kcal
Protein and Amino Acids
Protein = 17.73 g
Glutamic acid = 3.995 g
Leucine = 1.358 g
Isoleucine = 0.763 g
Lysine = 0.569 g
Threonine = 0.736 g
Tryptophan = 0.388 g
Aspartic acid = 1.646 g
Glycine = 1.215 g
Alanine = 0.927 g
Valine = 0.99 g
Tyrosine = 0.743 g
Pheyl alanine = 0.94 g
Cystein = 0.358 g
Methionine = 0.586 g
Histadine = 0.522 g
Arginine = 2.63 g
Serine = 0.967 g
Proline = 0.81 g
Fats and fatty acids
Total fat = 49.65 g
Polyunsaturated fatty acids = 21.773 g
Monounsaturated fatty acid = 18.759 g
Saturated fatty acid = 6,957
Cholesterol = 0 mg
Calcium, Ca= 975 mg
Iron, Fe= 14.55 mg
Magnesium = 351 m g
Phosphorus, P = 629 mg
Potassium K = 468 mg
Sodium = 11 mg
Zinc, Zn = 7.75 mg
Copper, cu = 4.082 mg
Selenium, Se = 34.4 μg
Thiamin,B1 = 0.791 mg
Riboflavin,B2 = 0.247 mg
Niacin,B3 = 4.515 mg
Pyridoxine ,B-6 =0.79 mg
Folate = 97 μg
β-Carotene = 5 μg
Vitamin A = 9 IU
Vitamin E = 0.25 mg
Choline = 25.6 mg
Total dietary Fiber = 11.18 g
Total sugar = 0.3 g
Phenolics = 129.7 to 355.3 mg .
Lignans = 224-1148 mg
Sesame contains many vitamins and minerals which play a vital role to maintain our health.
Sesame rich in nutrients
• Sesame seeds are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, and dietary fiber.
• They also contain several essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
• Sesame seeds are also high in vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect against oxidative damage.
Sesame may improve heart health
They can reduce LDL or bad cholesterol. Sesame seeds also contain lignans and phytosterols, which may have additional cardiovascular benefits
Bone health and arthritis
Sesame is a good source of calcium from a plant source. 100 grams of sesame-dried seed contain about 970 mg of calcium. As we know that calcium is important for bone health, so these tiny unhulled seeds are good for your bones.
They also contain other bone-building nutrients, including magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.
Consuming sesame seeds regularly may help improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Osteoarthritis is a common disease in the older age group that can damage joints of the body due to the inflammatory process. As seeds have anti-inflammatory properties, they may help in joint pain.1
The Good source of fibers
100 grams of sesame contain 16.9 gms of fiber.2
Dietary fibers may help to protect you from various like hypertension, obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and certain gastrointestinal diseases.3
Sesame may support healthy digestion
Sesame seeds are a good source of dietary fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion.
Fiber helps keep the digestive system running smoothly by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation.
Sesame seeds may also have prebiotic properties, which means they can promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
Help to control blood pressure
Sesame contains many nutrients which may have beneficial effects on your blood pressure. For instant poly-unsaturated fat, phytosterol, lignans, magnesium, and vitamin E are such contents which are helpful in regulating your blood pressure.4
Anti-aging and Anti-oxidant properties
Free radicals are produced in the body which can destroy your body cells and are linked to the aging process. Beta-carotene phenolic and lignan of sesame may reduce free radical production and thus have anti-oxidant properties.5
Sesame may have anti-cancer properties
Sesame seeds contain lignans, which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties.
Lower cholesterol level
As sesame has monosaturated fatty acid, fibers, and Liganan which have lipid-lowering properties.6, 7
So by lowering lipids, sesame protects you from bad lipids, which in turn may protect you from other diseases like coronary heart disease.
Good source of protein
Sesame contains some essential amino acids like cysteine, tryptophan, and methionine.8
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein synthesis. In this way sesame can provide some amino acid but for other amino acids, you must take an animal source of protein.
Sesame is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin E, Cooper, iron, zinc, and selenium. These all help to build immunity. In this way, sesame boosts your immunity and helps to fight against various diseases.9
Good for skin and hair
Zinc, Selenium, Iron ad vitamins A, B, and E are helpful in the healthy growth of the hair.10
Beta-carotene and vitamin A are essential for vision.11
Good for post-menopausal women
The Lignan present in sesame is converted into Enterolactone by a gut microorganism, which has estrogenic activity. Thus, sesame help to reduce various symptoms in women after menopause.12, 13
Sesame may reduce inflammation
Sesame seeds contain compounds called lignans, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
1-Effects of sesame seed supplementation on inflammatory factors and oxidative stress biomarkers in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
3-Health benefits of dietary fiber.
4-. “Can sesame consumption improve blood pressure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials”. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 97 (10): 3087–3094
. Khosravi-Boroujeni H, Nikbakht E, Natanelov E, Khalesi S
5-” Effects of the Intake of Sesame Seeds (Sesamum indicum L.) and Derivatives on Oxidative Stress: A Systematic Review”. Journal of Medicinal Food. 19 (4): 337–345. Gouveia Lde A, Cardoso CA, de Oliveira GM, Rosa G, Moreira AS (2016).
6- Br J Nutr. 2016 Mar 14;115(5):764-73. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515005012. Epub 2016 Jan 13.
Sesame fractions and lipid profiles: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials.
7- The effect of dietary intake of sesame (Sesamumindicum L.) derivatives related to the lipid profile and blood pressure: A systematic review.
Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018 Jan 2;58(1):116-125. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2015.1137858. Epub 2017 Jun 28.
8- Effect of processing on some minerals, anti-nutrients and nutritional composition of sesame (Sesamum indicum) seed meals Electronic Journal of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Chemistry 10(1):1858-1864
9-Sesame seeds essential oil and Sesamol modulate the pro-inflammatory function of macrophages and dendritic cells and promote Th2 response.
10- The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review
12- Sesame Ingestion Affects Sex Hormones, Antioxidant Status, and Blood Lipids in Postmenopausal Women
The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 136, Issue 5, May 2006, Pages 1270–1275, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/136.5.1270
13- The pros and cons of plant estrogens for menopause.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2014 Jan;139:225-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2012.12.004. Epub 2012 Dec 25.
14-Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2012 Aug 15;22(16):5215-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2012.06.068. Epub 2012 Jul 3.Pinoresinol is a putative hypoglycemic agent in defatted sesame (Sesamum indicum) seeds through inhibiting α-glucosidase.