Health benefits of Sesame Seeds
Delicious, crunchy sesame seeds are widely considered healthful foods. They are high in energy but contain many health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for wellness.
The seeds are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acid oleic acid, which comprise up to 50% fatty acids in them. Oleic acid helps to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol” in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet which is rich in mono-unsaturated fats help to prevent coronary artery disease and stroke by favouring healthy lipid profile.
The seeds are also very good source of dietary proteins with fine quality amino acids that are essential for growth, especially in children. Just 100 g of seeds provide about 18 g of protein (32% of daily-recommended values).
In addition, sesame seeds contain many health benefiting compounds such as sesamol (3, 4-methylene-dioxyphenol), sesaminol, furyl-methanthiol, guajacol (2-methoxyphenol), phenylethanthiol and furaneol, vinylguacol and decadienal. Sesamol and sesaminol are phenolic anti-oxidants. Together, these compounds help stave off harmful free radicals from the body.
Sesame is amongst the seeds rich in quality vitamins and minerals. They are very good sources of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and riboflavin.
100 g of sesame contains 97 mcg of folic acid, about 25% of recommended daily intake. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis. When given in expectant mothers during peri-conception period, it may prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
Niacin is another B-complex vitamin found abundantly in sesame. About 4.5 mg or 28% of daily-required levels of niacin is provided by just 100 g of seeds. Niacin help reduce LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood. In addition, it enhances GABA activity inside the brain, which in turn helps reduce anxiety and neurosis.
The seeds are incredibly rich sources of many essential minerals. Calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper are especially concentrated in sesame seeds. Many of these minerals have vital role in bone mineralization, red blood cell production, enzyme synthesis, hormone production, as well as regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle activities.
Just a hand full of sesame a day provides enough recommended levels of phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and protein.