You won’t find too many people eating sesame seeds on their own. Instead, their reserved for toppings and ingredients more than anything, with most associating these seeds with being on top of their hamburger buns. Certain parts of the world have more uses for sesame seeds, especially in Asian countries where dishes are based more on sesame seeds than anything. However, there still aren’t many that will pick up a handful of sesame seeds and eat them.Advertisements:
You might want to reconsider that, though, as sesame seeds actually have a lot of health benefits when you eat them. Sesame seeds have a great taste that’s a bit on the nutty side in nature, similar to that of the sunflower seed. To see why you should be eating sesame seeds the same way that you do sunflower seeds, let’s take a closer look at the nutritional value and what some of those proven health benefits are.
Nutrition of Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are a bit high in calories, but the tradeoff that you get from the nutrition is well worth it. Sesame seeds contain 160 calories per one ounce of whole and dried seeds, which provide you with 10 percent of your daily recommendation for protein and 13 percent of your needed dietary fiber. Sesame seeds aren’t packed with vitamins, but you do get more than 10 percent of your daily recommendation for both thiamin and vitamin B6.
Other vitamins around the five percent mark include riboflavin, niacin and folate. As for the minerals, sesame seeds provide more than half of your daily copper needs, and more than a quarter of your daily calcium, iron, magnesium and manganese. Sesame seeds also have more than 10 percent of your daily phosphorus and zinc, with small amounts of potassium and selenium. There’s no cholesterol in sesame seeds and they’re very low in carbs, but there is 13.9 grams of fat.
Good For the Heart
Even though sesame seeds are higher in fat, most of it comes from mono and polyunsaturated fats. Out of the 13.9 grams of fat, 1.9 of those are saturated fats. You can improve your overall heart health by eating sesame seeds because of these healthy fats, as they lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and raise your HDL (good) levels. Reducing your cholesterol by just a small amount drastically reduces your chances of heart disease or heart attack.
Sesame seeds have also been shown to reduce your blood pressure, especially thanks to the high amount of magnesium and small amount of potassium. Potassium helps you to flush out the excess sodium in the body, while it works with magnesium to relieve stress in your heart’s blood vessels.
What some people might not know is that sesame seeds actually contain a very, very small amount of THC, which is the same chemical found in marijuana. For this reason, sesame seeds are said to have an effect on your stress and anxiety levels. Of course, there are other (legal) minerals at work to help you relieve stress, including the high amount of magnesium that allows you to relax easier, which also helps you fall and stay asleep.
Thiamin also helps your nerves function more properly to reduce stress and lower signs of depression. Certain hormones are released when you eat sesame seeds, including tryptophan. When you release more tryptophan, you’re also releasing more serotonin. If you’re one of the people that tosses and turns in bed every night, consider adding more sesame seeds to your diet to feel more relaxed, while also avoiding stimulants such as caffeine that can keep you awake.
Each serving of sesame seeds get you more than 10 percent of your daily recommendation of dietary fiber, providing a huge boost for your digestive system. Dietary fiber gets rid of the harmful bacteria in your gut, which relieves a wide range of problems such as constipation and diarrhea. If you get cravings throughout the day, you might not be getting enough fiber, which does help you feel more full.
Fiber also has a lot of other benefits overall, including balancing your blood sugar. For those with diabetes or wanting to make sure that they never get this disease, you need to focus on foods that are lower on the glycemic index such as sesame seeds. One other thing that fiber does is prevent certain forms of cancer such as colon and stomach cancer, meaning there’s not a lot that fiber can’t’ do.
Sesame seeds have a surprising amount of minerals that are all great for your bones. It’s not just calcium found in sesame seeds (though there is more than a quarter of your daily recommendation), but also a high amount of phosphorus and magnesium. With 25 percent daily value in the latter and 18 percent in the former, you’re on your way to stronger bones with each serving of sesame seeds.
When you introduce all three of these minerals, they increase the body’s efficiency to absorb calcium into the bones. Since 99 percent of the calcium in your body is found in your bones, it’s important to keep the calcium count as high as you can without going over the daily recommendation. Doing so greatly reduces your risk of osteoporosis and general bone loss in the future, improving your quality of life at an older age.
Healthy Weight Gain
While a majority of us out there are looking to lose weight, there’s still plenty that are looking to add weight, whether it be through fat or muscle. Sesame seeds are a great way of increasing your weight in either capacity in a healthy way. Because of the high amount of protein, healthy fats and calories, sesame seeds provide a wide range of nutrition to add healthy pounds. If you’re underweight and looking to get up to a healthier weight, don’t just binge on high calorie junk food when foods like sesame seeds and a variety of nuts are much better for your overall health.
Summing it Up
Most of the precautions that typically come up with sesame comes from the actual sesame oil instead of the seeds. If you’re eating sesame seeds by themselves, it’s not expected that you’ll see any side effects if eating the recommended amount. Even women who are pregnant or nursing (as well as children) should feel at ease when eating sesame seeds. Doctors suggest that if you have low blood pressure or diabetes, however, that you should use caution and speak with a professional before eating sesame seeds.
Those that also have a surgery upcoming should avoid sesame seeds just to be safe, as they can lower both your blood sugar and blood pressure. Some will say that there are problems with too many calories in sesame seeds, but this is only if you eat more than the recommended amount, but that can be easy to do. Just be mindful of how much you’re putting into your body, and you’ll experience the benefits of any food, especially a great one like the sesame seed!