Sesame (Sesamum indicum) is a very famous flowering plant, which is cultivated in a number of regions around the world, for its edible seeds. It belongs to the plant family Pedaliaceae and the genus Sesamum. It is an annual plant, growing up to a maximum of 2-3 feet and bears flowers that vary in color, from yellow to blue and even purple. The seeds of this plant are very popular for their delicate, nut-like taste and add a delightful crunchy flavor to a number of Asian dishes. Thought to have originated in India, these seeds are regarded as a ‘sign of immortality’ and were even mentioned in the ancient Hindu scripts. From here, sesame seeds were introduced to other parts of the world, like Asia, Africa and the Middle East. These seeds are considered to be a prime ingredient in certain Middle Eastern sweet dishes, like halvah and are also used in tahini (sesame seed paste). Having a high nutritional value, sesame seeds contribute a lot in the prevention of a number of dishes and ailments. To know more about the diverse health benefits of sesame seeds, read the pointers given below.
Health Benefits Of Eating Sesame Seeds
- A high source of mono and polyunsaturated fats, sesame seeds help in maintaining a healthy cardio-vascular system. In addition to this, these seeds have significant amount of saturated fats as well.
- The magnesium present in the seeds helps prevent asthma, by lowering airway spasm, controlling high blood pressure and restoring the normal sleeping pattern in women suffering from the symptoms associated with menopause.
- Magnesium also aids the body in preventing the spasm of the trigeminal blood vessels, which is the main triggering factor behind migraine attacks.
- Sesame seeds also have a high copper content. This mineral is essential in a number of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant enzyme systems and therefore helps relieve the pain and swelling associated with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis).
- The high levels of calcium and magnesium present in these seeds help build bones, enhance bone density, lower the risk of osteoporosis and also regulate the body metabolism.
- Sesame seeds are especially high in dietary fiber and proteins. Hence, they provide the required protein levels to the body and also help add roughage in the intestines.
- The mineral iron, present in these seeds, is very essential in the process of respiration, at the cellular level. It helps carry oxygen to the cells, by synthesizing hemoglobin in the body.
- High in zinc, sesame seeds help in healing wounds and strengthening the immune system of the body.
- The dietary fiber, along with the phytosterols, present in these seeds lowers the LDL levels in the blood and helps maintain blood glucose levels.
- Sesame seeds contain lignans (the plant compounds), which are essential antioxidants that act against cancer, by reducing the cell damage caused by free radicals.
- Sesame foods do not constitute a known allergenic food and do not contain measurable amounts of purines. However, the hulls of these seeds contain some amount of oxalates. They mostly come in the form of calcium oxalates. Hence, they should be consumed in moderate amounts.
- Sesame seeds add a great flavor to a number of dishes and recipes. They are often sprinkled over steamed broccoli, along with lemon juice.
- These seeds are very frequently used while making homemade bread, muffins and cookies.
- You can add the seeds to rice vinegar, crushed garlic and tamari and use this combination as a dressing for salads, vegetables and noodles.