No longer just for the birds, seeds are quickly becoming an absolute must when it comes to healthy eating. Chia, flax and sesame seeds are touted as nutritional powerhouses, necessary for overall health and wellness, and a quick look at the benefits of sesame seeds makes it easy to see why.
Sesame seeds are not only a great source of fiber, which supports a healthy digestive function, but this nutrient-dense seed is also packed with essential vitamins and minerals that help prevent disease and support overall health. It contains B vitamins, which are necessary for strong metabolic function as well as strong hair, skin and muscles; iron; calcium, which supports healthy bones, prevents osteoporosis and maintains a healthy weight; and magnesium, which aids in the absorption of calcium and keeps the thyroid healthy. Sesame seeds are also a good source of protein, especially for those seeking plant-based protein in lieu of animal protein.
Other Health Benefits
Loaded with vitamins and minerals, sesame seeds offer multiple health benefits that help prevent disease and improve existing health conditions, including high cholesterol, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and arthritis. The calcium, copper and magnesium found in sesame seeds improve lung function, strengthen bone health and reduce inflammation. Plus, the high concentration of monounsaturated fatty acids in the seeds helps lower low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This helps prevent heart disease and strokes.
Small Amounts, Big Rewards
When it comes to sesame seeds, a little goes a long way. Like nuts and avocados, sesame seeds are a key source of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation in the body and encourage healthy brain function, but moderation is key. Eating just 1 to 2 tablespoons a day allows you to reap the nutritional benefits without going overboard. Those suffering from food allergies should also exercise caution when consuming sesame seeds. If any redness, itching or digestive pains result from eating foods made with sesame seeds, have your doctor run a blood test and test for allergies.
How to Eat Sesame Seeds
Sneaking sesame seeds into meals is an extremely easy and delicious task. Tahini paste, one of the main ingredients in hummus, is made from sesame seeds. Look for tahini paste at your local health foods market and experiment with tasty, homemade spreads and salad dressings. You can also incorporate sesame seeds into smoothies and trail mix. Or garnish your favorite salad or vegetables with sesame seeds for a crunchy, nutty taste. To keep your seeds as healthy as possible, look for raw or roasted sesame seeds and be cautious of salted seeds, as excess sodium can lead to high blood pressure and kidney disease.