Sesame, also called benne, are tiny edible seeds that are native to sub-Saharan Africa.
The seeds, in white, black or brown varieties, can be consumed in raw or dried form, or roasted as snacks.
Sesame seed is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals including copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber, thiamin (vitamin B6, folate), protein, and tryptophan.
Below are seven health benefits of these small but highly nutritious seeds.
Promotes good heart health
Sesame seeds contain two unique substances- sesamin and sesamolin. These substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, which contains a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, therefore, preventing high blood pressure. Sesamin also protects the liver from oxidative damage.
Sesame seeds are naturally stocked with anti-cancer compounds including phytic acid, magnesium, and phytosterols. Sesame seeds have the highest phytosterol content of all seeds and nuts. These compounds function as an antioxidant and reduce the effects of free radicals that may result in cancer.
Boosts bone health
The impressive levels of essential minerals like zinc, calcium, and phosphorous that are found in sesame seeds can be a major boost for your body’s bone health. These minerals are integral parts in creating new bone matter and strengthening or repairing bones that may be weakened.
Though small, sesame seeds contain a significant amount of fibre, an important element the bulks up bowel movements and helps them move through the digestive tract, thereby reducing conditions like constipation, as well as diarrhea and other gastrointestinal diseases and cancer.
Protects from radiation effects
The sesamol content of sesame seeds also protects your DNA from the harmful effects of radiation. By protecting DNA from mutation due to radiation, these seeds can boost strength and reduce the chances of contracting other forms of cancer due to cellular mutation.
Sesame seeds contain magnesium and other nutrients. Sesame oil has been shown to prevent diabetes, and it can also improve plasma glucose in hypersensitive diabetics.
Sesame seeds contain the stress-relieving minerals, magnesium, and calcium. Sesame also contains the calming vitamins thiamin and tryptophan that produce serotonin, which reduces pain, improves moods and aids sound sleep. Deficiency in Thiamin (vitamin B1) can lead to muscle spasms, moodiness, and depression.
Black sesame seeds are particularly rich in iron and are highly recommended for those with anemia and weakness.
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