Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are the edible seeds of a number of species in the genus Sesamum, which is variously classified in the family Pedaliaceae. They are used in many cuisines, especially in India and Africa; major producers include Argentina, China, India, Iran and South Africa.
The edible sesame seed is surrounded by a hull (called a pericarp ) that is commonly removed to extract the seed. The seed has a delicate, nutty flavour. It can be used whole or as a component in many dishes: for example, sprinkled over baked goods such as bread, cookies and cakes; blended with vinegar as a flavouring for salad dressings and coleslaw; toasted and used as a garnish on hamburgers; pressed to make sesame oil; and in candies like chocolate-coated toffees.
The health benefits of sesame seeds are many. Consuming sesame seeds regularly can improve eyesight and reduce the risk of heart disease. They also aid in weight loss, blood pressure reduction and provide protection from breast, prostate and colon cancer. Sesame seeds have a long history of use in Indian recipes. They are extremely versatile and can be consumed as whole seeds, oil or paste.
It is loaded with nutrients that include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Some of its components stimulate the hypothalamus gland to produce thyroid hormones that regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats and affect body temperature.
Sesame oil extracted from its seeds boasts of monounsaturated fats that help lower LDL cholesterol levels, making it a great choice for weight loss.
Nutritional Benefits of Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are a type of nut consumed for cooking, oil extraction and health benefits. They are small, flat and round in shape. Sesame seeds are available in a variety of colours such as brown, black sesame seeds, white and yellow.
Sesame seeds are also known as ‘the queen of spices’. Sesame seeds are a rich source of calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins. They are also an excellent source of antioxidants, phytonutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, omega-6 fatty acids and protein.
The sesame seeds contain high concentrations of copper and manganese which in turn help in the production of red blood cells. These nutrients also protect the body from hair loss, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, reduce the risk of cancer and lower the risk of a heart attack.
Consuming fibre-rich foods such as sesame seeds help to eliminate constipation, obesity, colon cancer and diabetes. Sesame seeds contain three times more calcium than milk. Sesame seeds also have a unique combination of calcium and magnesium which is essential for healthy bones and teeth.
Sesame seeds also contain lignans, which have antioxidant properties. The sodium content in sesame seeds is low and a cup of sesame seeds contains 22 percent of the daily value for copper. Copper is required for healthy hair growth. It also helps your body produce melanin, a potent antioxidant that prevents cell damage.
Sesame seeds aid weight loss by decreasing appetite. They are known to curb appetite and suppress appetite-stimulating hormones like ghrelin and increase the hormone leptin, which suppresses hunger.
Sesame seeds usually have a sweet flavour and can be used to flavour savoury dishes or as snacks. These seeds can be added to curries or chutneys or enjoyed with yogurt or milk before breakfast.
Sesame Seeds for Hair & Skin
Sesame seeds are a good source of proteins. Protein deficiency has been directly linked to hair loss. A regular intake of proteins may prevent hair fall.
The nutritive elements present in sesame seeds help to regenerate the scalp cells, providing nutrition and moisture to the scalp and hair. This promotes healthy and strong hair growth.
Sesame seeds have been used for centuries to support healthy hair and skin. In India, where sesame seeds are a staple ingredient in cooking, they are often referred to as "nature’s beauty secret".
Biologically speaking, sesame seeds contain more minerals than any other fruit seed. They are also a rich source of protein and vitamins B1, B2 and B3. Plus, the oil in them is high in antioxidants and fatty acids that help keep the skin supple and smooth.
Sesame seed oil is also high in lecithin and is an emollient that helps reduce inflammation and prevent premature ageing. Taken regularly, it helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Sesame seeds have a long history of medicinal use. The seeds have been used to stimulate hair growth, nourish skin and exfoliate dead cells on the scalp. The calcium in sesame seeds helps prevent the loss of hair and prevents dandruff.
The zinc content in sesame seeds can help you get rid of dandruff and stimulate your hair growth. Sesame oil has a high protein and fatty acids content, which nourishes your hair cells, resulting in the growth of healthy hair. It is also useful in treating dry skin and scalp.
Sesame seeds are tiny and oval, often lighter in colour with a darker irregular spot on one side. They look like white flecked coriander or cumin. Sesame is grown primarily for its edible seeds, which come in many varieties: black, brown, golden, and white.