As one of the oldest known foods on earth, sesame seeds have been used for centuries for their rich, nutty flavor and multiple health benefits. The small-but-mighty seeds contain copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and zinc, among other nutrients. Benefits of sesame seeds include lower cholesterol levels, balanced hormones and increased nutrient absorption.
Benefits of Sesame Seeds
1. Lower Cholesterol
Benefits of sesame seeds include the ability to naturally lower cholesterol levels. Sesame seeds are packed with phytonutrients, including fatty acids and antioxidants. Compared to other nuts, seeds, legumes and grains, sesame seeds contain the highest amount of cholesterol-lowering phytosterols. They work by displacing cholesterol in the intestinal tract to prevent cholesterol from being absorbed. (1)
2. Protect the Heart
Benefits of sesame seeds include the ability to protect the heart. Sesame seeds contain lignans, which help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and serum blood levels. Research has shown that taking 50 grams of sesame seed powder each day for five weeks has positive effects on total cholesterol and LDL-to-HDL cholesterol ratios.
3. Improve Blood Pressure
Benefits of sesame seeds include the ability to naturally improve blood pressure. As an antihypertensive agent, sesame oil works to normalize blood pressure levels. Studies have shown that supplementing with sesame oil can significantly increase antioxidants and lower blood pressure in patients. (2)
4. Balance Hormones
Research has shown that benefits of sesame seeds include the ability to balance hormones. According to a 2009 study published in The Journal of Nutrition, sesame showed positive effects on antioxidant status and blood lipids in adult women that positively impacted sex hormones. The study found that a sesame lignan called sesamin was converted into a phytoestrogen in the body that possessed estrogen-like activity. Postmenopausal women who consumed 50 grams of sesame powder each day for five weeks saw an improvement in serum sex hormone binding and production, as well as lower cholesterol levels. Research suggests that sesame seeds act as a superfood to help facilitate a healthy pregnancy. (3)
5. Fight Cancer
Studies have shown that benefits of sesame seeds include the ability to fight cancer. Like flax seeds, sesame seeds contain mammalian lignan precursors that have anti-cancer effects. According to a 2005 study, both sesame seeds and flax seeds are able to increase mammalian lignans in the body to help prevent colon cancer and breast cancer. A 2012 study found that dietary lignans may act as a natural cancer treatment. (4)
6. Help Burn Fat
Benefits of sesame seeds include the ability to help the body burn fat. The phytochemicals found in sesame seeds work to boost the metabolism and increase the body’s ability to burn fat. They work by improving the activity of liver enzymes that help break down fatty acids. A diet high in healthy fats like sesame seeds, chia, flax and sunflower seeds, can help reduce cravings, prevent overeating and fight a sugar addiction.
7. Boost Nutrient Absorption
Benefits of sesame seeds include the ability to boost nutrient absorption. The lignans in sesame seeds help the body absorb Vitamin E and other phytochemicals. Fatty acids help absorb fat-soluble nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin D and other antioxidants. Adding sesame seeds to your diet can help ensure that your body is properly absorbing and using the nutrients you consume.
8. Provide the Body With Vitamins and Minerals
Benefits of sesame seeds include the ability to provide the body with potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. Sesame seeds can help prevent an iron deficiency, which is linked to chronic fatigue and anemia. The seeds also contain a healthy dose of calcium, which can help improve bone health.