Sesame seeds (sesamum indicum) are one of the oldest condiments known to man. These small seeds are very nutritious and have many health benefits (sesame seeds benefits). They are known to add a nutty taste, sweet flavor and delicate, almost invisible, crunch to many Asian dishes. They are highly honored as an affordable food that deeply nourishes the body on many levels.
Here is a list of scientifically proven facts on how sesame seeds can do wonders to your body. Keep scrolling for a super appetizing Sesame Seed Balls recipe, called laddus, which will keep your body warm and cozy in winter.
Ayurvedic Properties Of Sesame Seeds
Nutritional Profile Of Sesame Seeds
Sesame Seeds Benefits: Everything You Need To Know
Power Packed Sesame Seed Balls Recipe (Laddus)
Ayurvedic Properties Of Sesame Seeds
From the Ayurvedic perspective, sesame seed (til) is sweet, bitter, pungent and astringent in taste. They absorb and enter the body channels very quickly (Vyavai). They are heavy (guru), unctuous (snigdha), deep penetrating (sukshma), have a hot potency (ushna virya) with a sweet post digestive effect (madhur vipaka).1
Sesame seeds are considered to be strength promoting (balya). They are a hair tonic (keshya) and rejuvenator (rasayana). They balance Vata (vataghna), improve the complexion (varnya), detoxify the body (vishghna), promote intelligence (medhavardhaka) and improve digestion (agnivardhaka). They are good for bones (bhagna prasadak) and are an aphrodisiac (vajikara).2
The ancient Ayurvedic sages Charaka and Sushruta mentioned the properties of sesame in the Ayurvedic texts. Sesame seeds promote longevity and preserve youth. They are beneficial for the skin (twachya), hair (keshya) and teeth (dantya). They strengthen the body (balya), increase intelligence (buddhivardhaka) and digestive power (agnivardhaka).3,4
In the ancient treatise of Ayurveda, there are three varieties of sesame seeds, black, white and red or brown. The black variety of sesame (Krishna tila) or black sesame seeds are considered to have excellent medicinal properties and are used in Ayurvedic treatments and preparations. White seeds have medium properties and red or other seeds have ordinary medicinal properties.
The chemical constituents in sesame seeds6 are 55% oils, sesamin, sesamolin and sesamol. Fatty oils composed mainly of oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmate acid, stearic acid, arachidonic acid and glycerol are supposed to possess antioxidant effects in the body.
Nutritional Profile Of Sesame Seeds7
Sesame seeds are an excellent source of copper, manganese, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, vitamins B1, B6 and dietary fiber. Here are some notable vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you can expect to find in a one ounce (28g) serving of sesame seeds.
Manganese – 0.7 mg. 35% RDA.
Copper – 0.7 mg. 35% RDA.
Calcium – 277 mg. 28% RDA.
Iron – 4.1 mg. 23% RDA.
Magnesium – 99.7 mg. 25% RDA.
Tryptophan – 93 mg.
Zinc – 2 mg. 13% RDA.
Fiber – 3.9 g. 16% RDA.
Thiamine – 0.2 mg. 15% RDA.
Vitamin B6 – 0.2 mg. 11% RDA.
Phosphorous – 179 mg. 18% RDA.
Protein – 4.7 g.
Now let’s have a look at more sesame seeds benefits.
Sesame Seeds Benefits: Everything You Need To Know
Sesame Seeds Lower Cholesterol
Sesame seeds have powerful cholesterol-lowering effects. They are ranked highest in cholesterol-lowering phytosterols of nearly all nuts, seeds, legumes and grains. Black sesame seeds are especially high in phytosterols. Phytosterols are plant sterols structurally similar to cholesterol that block cholesterol production, and act on the intestine to lower cholesterol absorption.8
Sesame Seeds Boost Heart Health
Sesame seeds prevent atherosclerotic lesions and so are beneficial for heart health. Rsearch conducted on hypertensive rats demonstrated that when the degree of vascular hypertrophy of the aorta and superior mesenteric artery was histochemically evaluated, wall thickness and wall area of these vessels were significantly found decreased by the sesamin (a lignan from sesame) feeding. The histological renal damage such as the thickening of tunica intima and fibrinoid degeneration of the arterial wall also decreased.9
Sesamin is also valuable for prophylactic treatment to fight against the development of cardiac hypertrophy and renal hyper tension.10 Besides this, sesamin is a potent antioxidant and proves to be a potential compound in stroke therapy.11
Sesame Seeds Normalize Blood Pressure
Sesame is considered a strong antihypertensive since it can help normalize blood pressure levels. Research shows that lignans present in sesame seed supplementation improve lipid profiles and normalize cholesterol and blood pressure in hypertensive adults.
Sesame is impressive. Sesame oil which is rich in poly unsaturated fatty acids or PUFA, sesamin and vitamin E greatly reduces hypertension when compared to blood pressure lowering drugs.12 Moreover, sesame seeds are full of magnesium, a key nutrient known to help lower blood pressure.
READ MORE: Will Turmeric Lower Blood Pressure?
Sesame Seeds Prevent And Manage Diabetes
Magnesium present in sesame seeds aids in preventing the chances of diabetes onset and manages the symptoms in patients with diabetes. Apart from this, sesame oil exhibited synergistic effects with glibenclamide medicine used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It can provide a safe and effective option for the drug combination that may be very useful in clinical practice for the effective improvement of hyperglycemia. Sesame seeds regulate insulin and glucose levels in the body, thereby helping to manage the symptoms of diabetes.13
READ MORE: How Golden Milk Benefits Memory
Sesame Seeds Improve Anemia
Sesame seeds, especially the black ones, are rich in copper which is important for iron absorption. They are highly recommended for those suffering from anemia and weakness. Furthermore, research found that flavonoids present in sesame are effective in raising hemoglobin levels.14
Sesame Seeds Are Excellent Analgesics
The high copper content of sesame seeds has a number of valuable functions, including the reduction of inflammation in joints, bones, and muscles, thereby reducing pain in arthritis.15
Extract of sesame seeds have shown a significant antioxidant and analgesic activity during research.16 Major lignan present in sesame or sesamin prove to be anti-inflammatory and have therapeutic potential in relieving pain.17
READ MORE: 29 Marma Points For Pain Relief
Sesame Seeds Benefit The Nervous System
Calcium and magnesium, the important components of sesame seeds help in relaxing the nervous system. Sesamin and sesamolin exerts effective neuroprotection effects.18 Research shows that sesamol, another lignan present in sesame seeds, can be used as an effective agent in the management of degenerative neurological disorders.19 Sesamol inhibits cytokine production and oxidative stress which may decrease the physiological effects of stress in humans.
Sesame Seeds Possess Anti-Aging Effects
Sesame seeds promote healthy and beautiful skin as they are rich in omega-6, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, vitamins B and E which have been used as products for beautification. Sesame seeds are considered the ‘fountain of youth’. They contain high levels of zinc, a vital component in the formation of collagen, which strengthens the muscle tissue, hair and skin. Sesame seed oil reduces the appearance of burns and marks on the skin, as well as the signs of premature aging. The anti-aging effect of sesame is strongly due to vitamin E activity caused by a novel synergistic effect of sesame lignans with tocopherols resulting from the inhibition of metabolic decomposition of tocopherols by sesame lignans. And so sesame acts as a rejuvenator.20
Sesame Seeds Help Balance Hormones
Sesame ingestion benefits postmenopausal women by improving blood lipids, antioxidant status and sex hormone status. Research shows that the sesamin, sesame lignan, was converted by intestinal microflora to enterolactone, a compound with estrogenic activity thus correcting hormonal imbalances.21 Lignans present in the pericarp exert phyto-oestrogenic activity so they help in the reduction of post menopausal symptoms.25
Sesame Seeds Decrease Cancer Risk
Sesamol present in sesame induces growth arrest and apoptosis of cancer and cardiovascular cells.22 Sesame seeds also inhibit the growth of malignant melanoma and proliferation of human colon cancer cells.23 The mammalian lignans enterolactone and enterodiol, which are produced by the microflora in the colon of humans and animals from precursors from ungrounded whole sesame seeds have potential anticancer effects especially in regard to preventing colon and breast cancers.24
Sesame Seeds Boost Bone Health
Low zinc intake and reduced blood zinc concentrations in the blood have been reported to be associated with osteoporosis.26 Black sesame seeds are abundant in calcium and zinc that increases the bone mineral density and thus strengthens the bone.
Sesame Seeds Fight Obesity
Sesame increases the fat burning process and decreases the fat storage in the body. Intake of sesame seeds has given excellent results as a therapeutic strategy in the prevention of obesity induced type 2 hyperglycemia.27
Sesame Seeds Nullify The Effects Of Alcohol
Sesamin of sesame regulates the metabolism of lipids, xenobiotics, and alcohol at the mRNA level, helps the liver to decompose the harmful effects of alcohol as well as other substances that generate poison in the body.28
Power Packed Sesame Seed Balls Recipe (Laddus)
Sesame seeds (til) provide heat and energy to the body which is necessary to beat the cold in winter. It is considered a special food for winter. The best way of having these super seeds is in the form of a ball-shaped sweet or laddu. This is a simple yet healthy and delicious recipe, beneficial for both kids and adults alike. It’s a great way to take in all of sesame seeds benefits.
Here’s an easy step-by-step guide to making this sweet snack at home.
4 cups sesame seeds (black or white variety)
500 grams of jaggery
2 tsp clarified butter (ghee)
8-10 cardamom pods (elaichi)
1 cup almonds
1 cup cashews
1. Clean the sesame seeds thoroughly by removing any husk, tiny stones or any other foreign particles from the seeds.
2. Heat a heavy pan on medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and stir continuously, roasting until light brown in color. When the seeds are well toasted remove them from the heat. To check, crush it with your hands, being careful not to burn yourself, and see if the seeds turn to powder. If so, they are ready. Remove the seeds and set them aside on a plate to cool.
3. In the same hot pan, put the cashew nuts and almonds on a low flame. Stir for 30 seconds and then set aside.
4. Grind the roasted black sesame seeds coarsely in a mixer or grinder.
5. Next put the roasted cashew nuts and almonds into the very same mixer grinder and grind them coarsely as well.
6. Mix them all together.
7. Remove the cardamom seeds from the pod, grind them to a powder and add to the mixture.
8. Now in a hot pan over a low flame, heat one teaspoon of clarified butter along with the jaggery.
9. Keep the flame low, stirring continuously until the jaggery melts completely. Turn off the flame when it melts completely and becomes a smooth paste.
10. Add the above prepared mixture of roasted nuts and seeds to the melted jaggery. Mix it quickly so that all the melted jaggery (Gud) coats the mixture evenly.
11. Transfer the mixture to a plate and let it cool down a little but not completely. When the mixture has cooled slightly, apply some clarified butter to your hands and knead the mixture to make it smooth.
12. Form the mixture into round shapes, one tbsp big, and place them on a plate.
This recipe makes a super healthy, nutty and delicious sesame seed sweet called a laddu. Serve this mouth-watering recipe as is for a snack, treat or dessert. Laddus can be stored for 4-5 hours. Once they cool down completely store them in an airtight container. You can have one to two of these scrumptious nutritious sweet balls daily whenever you crave something sweet.
Once the mixture is shaped into round balls, you can immediately coat them with more sesame seeds. This will enhance their taste. Do keep in mind not to overcook the sesame seeds during roasting as they can take on a bitter taste. While forming the balls, the mixture has to be hot, as it turns rigid when cool, making them difficult to bind.
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18. Fu-Chou Cheng Neuroprotective Effects of Sesamin and Sesamolin on Gerbil Brain in Cerebral Ischemia Int J Biomed Sci. 2006 Sep; 2(3): 284–288.PMCID: PMC3614603 PMID: 23674992.
19. Kumar P1, Kalonia H, Kumar A. Sesamol attenuate 3-nitropropionic acid-induced Huntington-like behavioral, biochemical, and cellular alterations in rats. J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2009;11(5):439-50. doi: 10.1080/10286020902862194.
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23. Smith DE,Selective growth inhibition of a human malignant melanoma cell line by sesame oil in vitro sesame seeds are a rich source of mammalian lignan precursors. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1992 Jun;46(2):145-50
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28. Nobuo Tsuruoka Modulating Effect of Sesamin, a Functional Lignan in Sesame Seeds, on the Transcription Levels of Lipid- and Al ohol-Metabolizing Enzymes in Rat Liver: A DNA Microarray Study Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 69:1, 179-188, DOI: 10.1271/bbb.69.179.