Despite being one of the most ancient foods, the potentiality of sesame seeds, more popularly known as “Til” or “Tila” in India, has been highly overlooked over the ages. However, thanks to modern research, it has now come to the limelight and is slowly emerging to be one of the world’s healthiest foods highly beneficial to mankind. These tiny seeds not just add the nutty and crunchy flavor to the food but are highly beneficial, and can cure a whole lot of health issues. So if you are unaware of the top health benefits of sesame seeds, and are eager to know more, then continue reading this post. Today in this post, I am going to talk about the amazing health benefits of sesame seeds, and why you should eat them often.
“Sesamum indicum” or sesame seeds are from the “Sesamum” genus and are probably the oldest oilseed crop known to have been cultivated nearly 4000 years. The plant is very resilient and can thus grow in areas where most other crops fail. Sesame seeds are very small having a length of 3-4 mm and a breadth of 2mm. There are various types of sesame seeds with black, brown and white being the most common. These seeds are packed with nutrients including vitamins, minerals, natural oils, and organic compounds. The black sesame seeds are great sources of iron while the white sesame seeds are rich in calcium. Besides simply using them while cooking, you may consume them dried, raw or roasted and reap the maximum health benefits out of them.
The health benefits of sesame seeds (til) cannot be denied and I am going to discuss the benefits in details but before that, let me give you an overview of the nutrients present that makes the seeds so beneficial.
Nutritional profile of sesame seeds
The more the nutrients, the more healthy is the product. Similarly, the presence of lots of important antioxidants and nutrients makes the sesame seeds healthy with iron, calcium, phosphorous, vitamins being the vital ones. You may check the USDA website to get the full nutritional profile of sesame seeds.
However, the significant nutrients found in sesame seeds are:
- Dietary fiber
Now that you have known about the nutritional profile of sesame seeds, let us shift our focus on the health benefits of sesame seeds or til.
Are you ready?
I hear you saying yes, so let’s get started.
Top 16 health benefits of sesame seeds
Sesame seeds serve many of our vital purposes like keeping our heart healthy, bones strong, fighting cancer, balancing hormones and much more. These are definitely a wonder product that must be included in your diet chart.
Sesame has many hair and skin benefits as well but today I will concentrate only on the health benefits. So, here are the top 16 health benefits of sesame seeds or tila.
Keeps your heart healthy
Heart is the most important organ which pumps 24×7 to keep us alive but in recent times due to intake of unhealthy foods, inhaling polluted air, excessive stress etc our heart is constantly at risk that in turn has lead to an alarming increase in the rate of heart attacks and other heart issues. Nevertheless, research has shown that with sesame seeds you can keep your heart healthy. Keep reading the below points to know how.
Lowers cholesterol levels
High levels of cholesterol in human body is one of the vital reasons behind heart failures and in order to keep cholesterol levels in check, you can definitely depend on sesame seeds. As per studies, sesame contains phytosterols that lowers cholesterol absorption within the intestinal tract and thus reduce the overall LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in body.
In fact, not just the phytosterols, but also the presence of lignans is efficient in reducing high cholesterol levels. Thus, sesame seeds are perfect hypocholesterolemic agents that we can consume to regulate high cholesterol.
Controls blood pressure
Another important factor that risk our heart is high blood pressure levels in body but not to worry as now studies have shown that with sesame, you will be able to put it under control as well. The 2006 study published in the journal “The Yale Journal of Biological Medicine” shows that besides reducing high blood pressure, it also helps to decrease the lipid peroxidation and improve the status of antioxidants in the patients.
Your heart gets adversely affected if you suffer from hypertension but sesame has the ability to keep the hypertension, stress and anxiety in control. It minimizes the strain on your cardiovascular system and protects against various heart problems. Besides, sesame contains magnesium, a well-known vasodilator that further aids against cardiac problems.
Improves digestive health
Indigestion is another common thing in today’s lifestyle where people suffer from digestive issues every other day. However, modern research shows sesame to have the property to boost your digestive health all thanks to the presence of high levels of fiber in it. Fiber, as we all know adds bulk to your stool, improves bowel movements and leads to smooth elimination of the excreta. It thus solves your problems of constipation, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disorders as well. So eat sesame seeds in adequate amounts and keep your digestive system strong.
Modern research has also shown that you can prevent and control the occurrence of the 7th leading killer diabetes with the help of sesame. Sesame contains magnesium that has the ability to reduce the risk of occurrence and manage the symptoms in diabetic patients.
Furthermore, sesame has the potential to positively affect the effects of the medicines like glibenclamide in the type 2 diabetic patients. It improves the functionality of the medicines and regulates the levels of plasma glucose and insulin in the body.
Good for bones
Bones tend to get weaker with age leading to various age related disorders but sesame can help you keep them strong. One of the main reasons is the presence of copper in sesame that reduces the inflammation of the bones, joints and relieves you of the pain caused by arthritis. Copper also strengthens your bones, joints and blood vessels and prevents their easy breakage.
Moreover, not just copper, sesame seeds are rich in calcium that is the primary bone builder and is essential in maintaining bone health. Adequate calcium also prevents osteoporosis and eventually boosts your overall bone health.
Sesame seeds can help you prevent various types of cancer as per study published in the “Journal of Agricultural And Food Chemistry”. The presence of the various kinds of vitamins, minerals and various other antioxidants in sesame is the main reason behind its potentiality to reduce cancer risks. The magnesium is one such nutrient present in sesame that possesses anti-carcinogenic properties.
Modern research has also shown that sesame seeds contain dietary lignans that has essential anticancer benefits especially when it comes to breast and colon cancer. It was reported that women who had higher lignan intake had 40-50% lower chance of getting affected by breast cancer.
Besides magnesium and lignan, sesame further contains phylate that acts like an antioxidant and inhibits the effects of free radicals thereby further reducing the risk of cancer occurrence in body.
Boosts metabolic health
Sesame seeds fosters good metabolism of the body. They contain proteins that are broken in your system and reassembled to usable proteins in your body. This boost your stamina and energy levels and enables growth of the cells, mobility etc.
Besides, the phytochemicals found also help to burn your body fat. These phytochemicals are part of the lignans that accelerate the liver mechanisms thereby further improving body’s metabolic activity.
Protects against radiation
Sesame seeds protects you from the harmful side effects of radiation exposure. This is mainly due to the presence of sesamol, which is proved to protect your cellular DNA and Membrane from y-Radiation. It also enhances the DNA repair process. This further protects your spleen from getting damaged, boosts your strength and reduces chances of having cancers by cellular mutation.
The problem of anemia is quite common nowadays and must be cured and I am sure sesame seeds can help you in it. Sesame, mainly the black ones are rich in iron and are definitely one of the most recommended foods for anemic patients. Sesame seeds are known to reduce and cure your problem of anemia and can help you get rid of the weakness or the constant feeling of fatigue that accompany it.
Improves oral health
Sesame is very beneficial for your oral health as well. According to “Indian Journal of Dental Research”, the process of oil pulling in which moderate amount of sesame seed oil is swished in your mouth can actually have an evident astringent and antibacterial effect that is extremely beneficial for your teeth. This procedure reduces the number of “Streptococcus bacteria” that harm your teeth. Therefore, we can easily conclude that sesame can prevent cavities, tooth decay and diminish the risk of getting affected by gingivitis and plague formation.
Good for your eyes
As per ancient Chinese medicine, the external and the internal parts of your body for example the eyes and liver are believed to share a cordial relationship. It was thought that liver has the ability to store blood and certain branches of it go to the eyes. These branches channelize blood to the eyes to enable them to function properly. Therefore, sesame seeds mainly the black ones, which help to increase liver blood automatically, provides nourishment to your eyes. Sesame seeds thus are a good remedy for curing the problem of blurred vision, as well as help relax your dry, tired and sore eyes.
Prevents respiratory problems
We face various respiratory problems with the issue of asthma being most common but all thanks to the sesame seeds, you can now control your asthma attacks. This is mainly due to the presence of magnesium that improves the functioning of the lungs and combats the attacks.
Most of the asthma attacks are results of the exposure to pollen, dust and allergens. However, the magnesium content in sesame seeds has the potential to inhibit the production of histamine. This mechanism leads to the release of the antibodies that act on the affected lungs and suppress the attack. Therefore, sesame seeds are good for asthma patients and can help you have a strong and healthy respiratory system.
Good for pregnant mothers
The nourishing sesame seeds are often recommended during pregnancy. This is because the expecting mothers need lot of stamina and strength during those 9 months that is provided by the various antioxidants present in sesame. The iron content also protects from the pregnancy-triggered anemia and keeps you going throughout the day.
Moreover, the presence of folic acid is also beneficial for the development of the fetus. They help in the synthesis of the DNA in the unborn child and prevent the chances of birth defects.
Although there are many health benefits of sesame seeds that you definitely cannot ignore, please take doctor’s advice before consuming them especially during your pregnancy.
Enables stronger immune system
Sesame as you know is a powerhouse of various kinds of nutrients that help in improving immunity. Stronger immune system means better ability of your body to fight various germs and prevent the diseases. Sesame is a great nourishing agent that takes care of most of the body organs and keeps you strong, active, sharp and energetic throughout the day.
Sesame seeds also help in proper detoxification of human body and stimulate better absorption of vital nutrients by your body. This further eliminates the problem of nutrient deficiency and keeps you healthy.
There is no doubt regarding the health benefits of sesame seeds (til) but few of its side effects can never be ignored.
Many people who have difficulty in digesting various nuts and seeds may face issues with sesame seeds as well. In some cases, it is found to cause allergies that mostly occur due to the process of manufacture or due to cross contamination with other seeds and nuts. Therefore, if you fall under such category of people, you have to avoid eating sesame.
Sesame seeds also contain oxalates which if taken in excess amounts might cause you harm. Do remember that most of them found in market contain the seed kernel that often remains even after the hull gets removed. So it is advisable to eat them in moderate amounts only. However, try to avoid the ones having intact seed hulls as they may trigger the occurrence of gout in your body.
The levels or the ingredient list in the packet of the product does not always reflect whether the hull is removed or not, so you may go by the taste and the color to distinguish the two. The bitter tasting and the darker ones are the ones where the hull is removed and hence are comparative safer that the heavy oxalate ones.
Moreover, if any of you is a victim of the genetic disease Wilson’s disease, then sesame is best avoided or if that is not possible, then you may eat it very less. This is because Wilson’s disease leads to the accumulation of copper in the lungs and since sesame seeds already contain copper, you must be careful.
By this time, you must have already started worrying regarding whether to eat sesame or not but let me just tell you one thing, that every ingredient if eaten in excess has side effects and sesame seeds are no exception. But, that does not mean you completely ignore its health benefits. My motive is to make you aware that eat it in moderate amounts and go for the ones where the hull is removed.
Sesame seeds are one of the healthiest foods with innumerable health benefits. They take care of your heart, bones, eyes, mouth and can protect you from the deadly diseases like cancer, diabetes, anemia etc. Therefore, when there is an ingredient, which is so cost effective, and is readily available having so much health benefits, then why not try it and decide its potentiality all by yourself.
You may eat the seeds raw, by drying or by roasting. You may even top them over the various salads or simply add them to your favorite food recipe. There are in fact so many recipes available that includes the usage of sesame seeds. Just do a bit of net surfing and experience the health benefits of sesame seeds.
However, amidst all the positive effects, you must never forget to take the precautions. People who has problem eating seeds and nuts and the ones suffering from Wilson’s disease must remain careful while eating while the rest can eat the bitter and darker variety but in moderate amounts. In case of any uneasiness, do not hesitate to take medical help.
Do you like sesame seeds? Have you checked out my list of top 16 health benefits of sesame seeds? Do share me the feedback after eating sesame seeds as well as feel free to ask questions in case of any query in the comments section below.
Until then, enjoy the health benefits of sesame seeds and do like and share the article with others.
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.