Sesame seeds are tiny, oil-rich seeds that grow in pods on the Sesamum indicum plant. The unpeeled seeds have the outer, edible bark intact, while the peeled seeds come without the bark. The bark gives the seeds a sandy brown tint. Seeds without the bark have a white color but turn brown when baked.
Sesame seeds have many potential health benefits and have been used in folk medicine for thousands of years. They can protect against heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. A serving of 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of sesame provides 12% of the RDI for fiber, which is vital for your digestive health. Fiber is known to support digestive health. In addition, growing evidence suggests that fiber may play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
Sesame seeds may help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including elevated triglyceride levels and “bad” LDL cholesterol. Sesame seeds — especially seeds with bark — are a good source of protein, which is an essential building block for your body. Sesame seeds are high in magnesium, which can help lower blood pressure.
In addition, their antioxidants can help prevent the accumulation of plaque.
Unpeeled sesame seeds are especially rich in nutrients vital for bone health, including calcium. Immersion, baking or germination of sesame seeds can improve the absorption of these minerals. Sesame seeds can help fight inflammation. Low-level long-term inflammation can play a role in many chronic diseases, including obesity and cancer, as well as in heart and kidney disease.
Sesame seeds are a good source of thiamine, niacin and vitamin B6, which are essential for proper cellular function and metabolism. Sesame seeds provide iron, copper and vitamin B6, which are necessary for the formation and function of blood cells. Sesame seeds may help control blood sugar because they are low in carbohydrates and high-quality proteins and healthy fats. In addition, they contain a plant compound that can help in this matter. The plant compounds and vitamin E in sesame seeds act as antioxidants, which fight oxidative stress in your body.
Sesame seeds are a good source of many nutrients that are important for the functioning of the immune system, including zinc, selenium, copper, iron, vitamin B6 and vitamin E. Sesamin, a compound in sesame seeds, can help reduce joint pain and support mobility in knee arthritis. Sesame seeds are good sources of nutrients — such as selenium, iron, copper, zinc and vitamin B6 — that support thyroid health. Phytoestrogens are compounds found in sesame seeds that can benefit women undergoing menopause. Sesame seeds can penetrate many dishes, such as salads, granola, baked products and potatoes. Tahini and sesame flour are other sesame seeds.