Sesame seeds are nearly invisible, but give a wonderful nutty flavor and crunch to many Asian-style dishes and are indispensable for making dishes like tahini and halvah. What makes them even more attractive, however, is all the health benefits they can bring. This is because they manage to pack a lot of nutrients into those tiny little seeds, nutrients which can help with very specific body functions and promote overall well-being.
Sesame seeds are a good source of fiber, and the fiber particular to these seeds are lignans called sesamin and sesamolin. These fibers can help with many aspects of bodily health, including good cardiac function through lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improved liver health and the body’s enhanced ability to absorb the vital nutrient Vitamin E. Fiber in general also improves the digestion and is a wonderful dietary aid.
One of the minerals which sesame seeds abound in is copper, which is part of many bodily processes and is also good for those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Copper can help greatly reduce the discomfort, pain and swelling associated with this disease since is in needed by a number of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory enzymes. It is also needed by an enzyme called lysyl oxidase, which is used for the production of the elastin and collagen which give strength and elasticity to the joints (as well as the skin!).
Sesame seeds are also high in magnesium, which also can bring with it a number of health benefits. First and foremost, it can be seen as a generally relaxant, which is the key to many of the things that it can do for the body, such as easy the spasm of the trigeminal blood vessel which is the causative factor of many migraines. It also can decrease the spasms of airway patches during an asthma attack. Lastly it is used by many postmenopausal women if they are having hormone-related sleep disturbances during their change of life.
Most people think of calcium solely in regards to bone health, and while it is true that this mineral is necessary for healthy bones and to prevent the development of osteoporosis, it is necessary for other purposes as well. For instance, it is believed to be a deterrent for certain forms of cancer and also helps to decrease the signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.
So go ahead and throw some sesame seeds in the next time you make a soup, salad or stir-fry. It will not only add a wonderful flavor to whatever dish you are making, it will bring an array of health benefits with it, too!