Sesame Seeds

5 Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds have tremendous health benefits in the human diet, and this article contains all the health benefits of sesame seeds.

Sesame seeds are most popular for their appearance on burger buns in popular fast food joints. They add a pop of colour and a slight flavour to a plain, old burger bun.
The sesame plant is also called a benne is grown in tropical regions of the world, such as Myanmar and India, and as we all know, it is grown for its edible sesame seeds.
The seeds grow in pods and come with a husk. They can be eaten with the husk (unhulled) or without the husk (hulled). Sometimes eating hulled seeds is better because the process of removing the husk reduces the levels of some compounds that may affect digestion and absorption of certain nutrients. 

Sesame seed bun

Besides their aesthetic appeal on a burger bun, sesame seeds are used in many other dishes. They have a lot of health benefits. However, these benefits are only possible if you eat at least a handful every day. The light sprinkle of seeds on your burger bun won't cut it.

Here are 5 benefits of sesame seeds:


1. Sesame seeds are a great source of plant protein

Proteins are known as the building blocks of the body. They are responsible for synthesizing most structures in the body, like muscles and even DNA strands. Popular protein sources include animal sources such as meat, fish and eggs. More people are becoming vegan or vegetarian for health or dietary reasons. As such, there is a demand for plant sources of protein, and sesame seeds meet this demand excellently. They provide 5 grams of protein in every 3 tablespoons (30g). 

Hulled seeds are better for this purpose, as unhulled seeds contain compounds that inhibit the digestion and absorption of protein. 

However, sesame seeds do not contain lysine. Lysine is an essential amino acid found in animal sources of protein. There are other plant sources of protein that provide lysine. Examples are beans and chickpeas. Read on whether sesame seeds are gluten free.


2. Sesame seeds support bone development and bone health

Hulled and unhulled sesame seeds contain nutrients that promote bone health. This is especially true for unhulled seeds as the husk contains calcium, a mineral that is necessary for bone health. Unhulled seeds also contain more magnesium, manganese, and zinc than hulled seeds. 

As with proteins, sesame seeds naturally contain oxalates and phytates, compounds that inhibit the absorption of these minerals. To reduce the action of these compounds, you can roast, soak or sprout the seeds, both hulled and unhulled.


3. Sesame seeds are a good source of fibre

Fibre is good for your digestive health. They may also play a role in reducing your chances of getting certain chronic diseases such as obesity, heart diseases, and some cancers. 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds (30 grams) contain 3.5 grams of fibre. This makes up 12% of the recommended daily intake. So, sesame seeds are a good way to increase your fibre intake to support your gut health significantly.


4. Sesame seeds contain antioxidants.

Antioxidants help the body fight damage that can occur in the body as a result of oxidation. This oxidation effect is known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress also increases the probability of you getting chronic diseases like liver disease. Research shows that sesame seeds have antioxidants in them. This research also shows that eating them will increase antioxidant activity in your blood. Sesame seeds also contain lignans and gamma-tocopherol, two antioxidants with their respective functions. Lignans lower the risk of getting heart disease, osteoporosis and breast cancer. Gamma tocopherol is said to be protective against heart disease. Read on how sesame seeds are grown.


5. They may aid hormone balance in menopause

Sesame seeds contain an estrogen-like compound called phytoestrogen, which is said to reduce the symptoms of menopause in older women. This is because oestrogen levels drop in menopausal women causing symptoms like hot flashes and reduced bone strength. Therefore, increased intake of sesame seeds might be able to cause the symptoms of menopause to reduce in frequency and intensity. Phytoestrogens may also reduce the risk of diseases like breast cancer during menopause. But more research is needed into this area.

Sesame seeds contain a variety of nutrients that are good for your body. Proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytoestrogen, fibre and other helpful compounds. You should consider eating them regularly in significant amounts. If you’re a food manufacturer or caterer and need to stock up on these beneficial sources of plant protein, here's an article on how KODGAV is supplying sesame seeds sustainably.

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