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Sesame Seeds: Uses Benefits, Side Effects and More!

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more

Introduction:  

Sesame (Sesamum indicum), often known as Til, is a flowering plant in the Sesamum genus. It is farmed for its edible seeds, which are produced in pods, and has become widely naturalized in tropical locations around the world. In 2018, the top producers were Sudan, Myanmar, and India. The cultivated type, S. indicum, is from India.

It thrives in drought-stricken areas, where other crops have failed. Sesame seed, which dates back over 3000 years, is one of the earliest domesticated oilseed crops. The oil content of sesame is among the greatest of any seed. It is a common component in cuisines across the world because of its rich, nutty flavour.

sesame seeds in spoon

Did You Know?

Nutritional Value of Sesame Seed: 

Sesame oil is most widely utilized in bakeries. Protein, vitamin B1, dietary fiber, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, calcium, manganese, copper, and zinc are all abundant in sesame seeds. 

Nutritional Components Sesame seeds/100 gm 
Total Fat 50 g 
Saturated fat 7 g 
Copper  2.29 mg 
Total Carbohydrate 23 g 
Dietary fibre 12 g 
Calcium 1450 mg 
Protein 18 g 
Sodium 11 mg 
Potassium 468 mg 
Iron 9.3 mg 
Zinc  12.20 mg 
Magnesium 87% 
Vitamin B6 40% 
The nutritional value of sesame seed is shown in the below table.3  

Did you know that sesame seeds, along with nuts and legumes, are not just delicious additions to your meals but also fantastic sources of phytosterols? These magical compounds might have the power to maximize cholesterol reduction in your body.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Properties of  Sesame Seeds:  

It is widely utilized for medicinal applications due to the presence of some unique phytochemicals. It may have following properties.2  

  • It may show blood sugar lowering activity  
  • It might have lipid-lowering activity    
  • It may show Anti-cancer properties  
  • It may have blood pressure-lowering activity  
  • It might have liver protective activity  
  • It may have anti-inflammatory properties    
  • It may have antimicrobial activity
  • It might show antioxidant activity  4

Studies have revealed that sesame seeds are not only packed with nutrients but also have an impressive composition. They contain approximately 21.9% protein and 61.7% fat, making them a great source of these essential macronutrients. No wonder they have earned the reputation of being an ‘all-purpose nutrient bank’ and even the illustrious title of the ‘crown of eight grains.’

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Potential Uses of  Sesame Seeds:    

It is a powerful energy source. Its seeds may be utilized for its various health-promoting properties, while its seed coat, a  byproduct  of sesame and a valuable source of fibers, may be a source for animal feedstuff.2   Sesame seeds provide a wide range of health benefits, which are detailed below:

Potential Uses of  Sesame  Seeds for Hair Health:  

Plant polyphenols found in sesame seeds  can  aid hair health. Because of the vitamins and minerals in sesame seed oil,  it is frequently massaged into the scalp,  which  may help with premature greying and hair growth.  The  amino acids and antioxidants  in  sesame seed oil  may also help dull hair regain its lustre.2  1 However, more research is required to prove such effects of sesame seeds.

Potential Uses of  Sesame  Seeds for Heart Functioning:  

Natural oil-soluble plant lignans found in sesame seeds may aid in the treatment of hypertension. Furthermore, magnesium has long been recognised as a vasodilator (a substance that lowers blood pressure).5  Thus it may have some effect on your heart health. However it is advisable to consult a doctor for heart related issues.

Potential Uses of  Sesame  Seeds for Constipation:  

Sesame seeds  have a higher content of  fibre  that  may be beneficial for good digestion. It may also help  with symptoms like constipation and diarrhoea while also protecting the colon and lowering the risk of gastrointestinal disorders.6  You must consult a doctor for its benefits for digestion.

Potential Uses of  Sesame  Seeds for Diabetes:  

Sesame seeds  maybe useful in managing diabetes. It may have effect on blood glucose levels and reduce or delay the absorption of glucose in the body.7  However, serious conditions like diabetes must be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. Therefore, kindly consult a doctor and do not self-medicate.

Also Read: Diet Tips for Gestational Diabetes

Potential Uses of  Sesame  Seeds for  Arthritis:  

Anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects of sesame seeds and sesame seed oil  are owing to  sesamol, a bioactive substance found in sesame seeds.  It  might be responsible for preventing pro-inflammatory chemical synthesis.

It may also lowers the number of reactive oxygen species produced. Sesame seeds or seed oil may help to  reduce the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis because of their qualities.8, 9  Pain and inflammation may be reduced by massaging joints with sesame seed oil.4  However since insufficient studies are available, for conditions for bones it is important to consult your medical practitioner for advice as the herb may have different effects on individuals.

Potential Uses of  Sesame  Seeds for Oral Health:  

The effects of sesame seeds on dental health may be perhaps the most apparent. Sesame seed oil pulling may have antibacterial and astringent effect on many aspects of dental health.

It may also be linked to lowering the presence of  Streptococcus  bacteria, a common bacterium that can cause problems in the mouth. Oil pulling with sesame oil can help reduce dental plaque as well as improve gum health.10  You must consult a qualified dentist for proper advice and guidance.

Potential Uses of  Sesame  Seeds for Alzheimer’s Disease:  

Sesame seeds can aid in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. They might have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Sesame seeds may reduce the formation of pro-inflammatory molecules  that  may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, they might manage  Alzheimer’s disease  by inhibiting the damage induced by reactive oxygen species to brain cells.12, 13  You must always consult a qualified for diagnosis and treatment.

Potential Uses of  Sesame  Seeds for Anaemia:  

Sesame seeds aid in the treatment of anaemia. Iron is abundant in sesame seeds. They help in the production of haemoglobin,  hematocrit, and red blood cells  in the body.14  This effect of sesame seeds will need further studies to provide scientific evidence.

Also Read: 7 Home Remedies for Anaemia

Potential Uses of  Sesame  Seeds for Anxiety:  

Due to its anxiolytic impact, sesame seeds can be beneficial in the treatment of anxiety.  They might also have antioxidant capabilities, which aid in the elimination of free radicals and the reduction of stress-related anxiety.15  You must consult a doctor and consume any herb only under their supervision.

Potential Uses of Sesame Seeds for Skincare:  

Zinc is an important component of sesame seeds. Zinc is a necessary component in the synthesis of collagen, which strengthens muscle tissue, hair, and skin. Thus, consuming sesame seeds can help improve health of hair and skin.2 

Due to the presence of antioxidants, sesame seed oil is helpful to the skin, and applying it to the face overnight softens and tightens the skin. Because of its antibacterial and antifungal characteristics, it improves wound healing.4  

They  prevent wound infection while also boosting wound healing. They fight common skin diseases with antibacterial and antifungal properties.  They  are also beneficial for wound healing because they promote collagen production and cell proliferation.16  

Though studies show the benefits of sesame seeds against various disease conditions, these studies are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of sesame seeds on human health.  

Not only are sesame seeds a great source of protein, but the protein they contain is also complete. In fact, the ratio of essential amino acid content in sesame protein is remarkably similar to that of the human body. This means that sesame seeds may provide us with all the essential amino acids our bodies need for optimal health.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Also Read: What is Black Seed Oil Good For: Exploring Research-Backed Benefits

How to Use Sesame Seeds? 

Sesame seeds are available in six different forms:17 

  • Sesame seeds 
  • Sesame milk 
  • Sesame seed oil 
  • Sesame seed capsule 
  • Sesame seed powder 
  • Sesame seed paste 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking sesame seeds or any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.  

The historical text ‘Shennong Ben Cao Jing’ provides insights into the traditional medicinal uses of sesame seeds. According to this ancient document, sesame seeds were believed to have therapeutic properties, possibly in taking care of injuries, nourishing internal organs, boosting energy, promoting muscle growth, and replenishing the bone marrow.

Dr. Anuja Bodhare, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Side Effects of Sesame Seeds: 

The majority of studies have determined that sesame seeds are safe to eat and have no negative effects. Excessive sesame seeds can result in some of the adverse effects described below.17 

  • If sesame seeds are not consumed in the limit, they might cause blood glucose levels to drop below normal. 
  • Excessive consumption of sesame seeds can drop blood pressure to dangerously low levels. 
  • Fibre from sesame seeds can form a layer over the appendix, causing bloating and pain.  
  • Because sesame seed allergy is a prevalent type of allergy, it is recommended that you consult a doctor before including sesame-based items in your daily diet. 
  • Sesame seeds have a detrimental effect if ingested in large quantities, as more of them are stored in the stomach without being digested, perhaps leading to weight gain. 
  • Sesame seeds should be used with caution, and persons with gout should avoid them entirely, as sesame seeds contain oxalates, a natural substance that contributes to the aggravation of gout symptoms. 

Also Read: Tejpatta – Benefits, Side Effects, Nutritional Value

It’s amazing how adding ground sesame seeds to salads can enhance the absorption of fat-soluble phytonutrients found in greens. Not only that, but sesame seeds also contain lignans, which are compounds known for their potential anti-cancer properties. These lignans may play a role in reducing the occurrence of breast cancer.

Dr. Ashok Pal, B.A.M.S.

Precautions to be Taken with Sesame Seeds: 

Before consuming sesame seeds, seek medical counsel if you have one or more of these conditions. 

  • In some people, sesame seeds or oil might trigger allergic responses (contact dermatitis). If you have an allergic response after eating sesame seeds, you should see a doctor.18,19 

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

It is critical to remember that none of these medications should be used with sesame seeds.17 

Anti-Diabetes Drugs: 

Sesame helps in lowering blood sugar levels. Blood sugar is also controlled using diabetes medicines. Taking sesame with diabetes drugs may cause blood sugar levels to drop dangerously low.

Antihypertensive Drugs

Sesame can help decrease blood pressure. When taking sesame with blood pressure medications, the effects of the medications may be amplified, lowering blood pressure too much.  

Tamoxifen

Sesame seeds can diminish the effects of tamoxifen. Tamoxifen users should avoid consuming sesame seeds in quantities greater than those found in food. 

Also Read: Psyllium Husk (Isabgol): Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Frequently Asked Questions:  

How to eat sesame seeds? 

Raw sesame seeds are a delicious snack (hulled or unhulled). You can toast and bake them as well. 17 

How many sesame seeds should I eat daily? 

Consume one tablespoon of raw or roasted sesame seeds every day, or season salads with sesame seeds to taste.17 

Does sesame seeds affect pregnancy? 

Sesame seeds cause the fertilised ovum to be ejected by stimulating the uterine muscles. Sesame seeds should be avoided by all pregnant women throughout the first three to four months of pregnancy, according to experts.17 

How to use sesame seeds? 

Sesame seeds can be sprinkled in salads, stir-fries, and soups. Sesame seeds can be toasted to make them crunchier and to enhance their flavour. Sesame seeds can be toasted by spreading them out on a baking dish and roasting them at 350 °F for 5-10 minutes.17

How to store sesame seeds? 

Keep sesame seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dry location.17 

How to make sesame oil at home? 

To make sesame oil at home, toast the seeds until golden brown, then combine them with your favourite cooking oil and blend until smooth. The sesame oil develops on top of the components at this point. Refrigerate sesame oil for up to two years so you can use it in a variety of dishes. 17 

Sesame seeds, are they gluten-free? 

Yes, Sesame seeds, both black and white, are gluten-free. 17 

Is sesame seed oil good for hair? 

Yes, sesame seeds and oil can help in hair growth.  Sesamin, a bioactive substance found in sesame seeds and oil, helps to prevent hair loss and greying. It can also be used to hydrate a dry scalp and prevent hair from the harmful effects of the sun and pollutants. Furthermore, it aids in the strengthening of hair shafts and roots. Lice infestations in children’s hair can also be treated with sesame oil.20  These effects need further scientific eveidence.

Can sesame seeds cause acne? 

No, Sesame oil, on the other hand, aids in the regulation of excess oils and has a healing impact on the skin.17

What are the health benefits of sesame seeds? 

Sesame seeds have anthelmintic, antihypertensive, antibacterial, cytotoxic, and hepatoprotective activities.2  You must consult a doctor for any advice for these conditions, do not self medicate.

Can sesame seeds give you diarrhoea? 

If you have a weak Agni, sesame oil might produce nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and even diarrhoea (digestive fire).17 

How to extract oil from sesame seeds at home? 

Warm the sesame seeds and cooking oil together on a medium heat setting after mixing them together. The presence of sesame seeds in the oil aids in the extraction of more oil from the seeds.17 

Can you freeze sesame seeds? 

Yes, sesame seeds can be frozen. Sesame seeds have a storage life of 6-8 months at room temperature and up to a year if refrigerated.17 

Does sesame seeds good for health? 

Healthy fats, protein, B vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants, and other useful plant elements can all be found in sesame seeds.  Consuming large amounts of these seeds on a regular basis, rather than just a sprinkling on a burger bun, may aid in blood sugar control, arthritic pain treatment, and cholesterol-lowering.17   Sesame seeds have anthelmintic, antihypertensive, antibacterial, cytotoxic, and hepatoprotective activities.2  You must consult a doctor for any advice for these conditions, do not self medicate.

Why do burgers have sesame seeds? 

The sesame seeds provide the bun flavour and texture, as well as add visual appeal to the burger.17 

How do sesame seeds help in hair growth? 

Yes, sesame seeds have been shown to aid hair  growth. Zinc is found in sesame seeds and oil, and it is linked to healthy hair development.  They aid in the maintenance of a healthy balance between hair growth and hair loss.21  These effects have not yet been proven and thus need further research.

Also Read: Chamomile – Benefits, Side Effects, Precautions & More

References: 

  1. T. Ogasawara, K. Chiba, M. Tada in (Y. P. S. Bajaj ed) (1988). Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Volume 10. Springer, 1988.  Available from: 

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-58833-4_19

  1. Anilakumar R, Pal A, Khanum F et al. Nutritional, medicinal and industrial uses of Sesame (S. indicum L.) seeds-an overview. Agric Conspec Sci.2010;75(4):159-168. Available from: https://hrcak.srce.hr/file/98744 
  1. Nutrional value of sesame seeds, USDA. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. [Internet] Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/ 
  1. Pathak N, Rai AK, Kumari R, Bhat KV. Value addition in sesame: A perspective on bioactive components for enhancing utility and profitability. Pharmacog Rev. 2014 Jul;8(16):147. Available from: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4127822/

  1. Peterson J, Dwyer J, Adlercreutz H, Scalbert A, Jacques P, McCullough ML. Dietary lignans: physiology and potential for cardiovascular disease risk reduction. Nutr Rev. 2010; 68(10): 571-603. Available from: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951311/

  1. Bamigboye AY, Okafor AC, Adepoju OT. Proximate and mineral composition of whole and dehulled Nigerian Sesame seed. Afr J Food Sci Technol. 2010;1(3):71-75. Available from: 

https://www.interesjournals.org/articles/proximate-and-mineral-composition-of-whole-anddehulled-nigerian-sesame-seed.pdf

  1. Ramesh B, Saravanan R, Pugalendi K V. Influence of Sesame oil on blood glucose, lipid peroxidation, and antioxidant status in streptozotocin diabetic rats. J Med Food.2005;8(3). Available from: 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16176150/

  1. Hemshekhar M, Mohan Thushara R, Jnaneshwari S et al. Attenuation of adjuvant-induced arthritis by dietary sesamol via modulation of inflammatory mediators, extracellular matrix degrading enzymes and antioxidant status. Eur J Nutr.2013; 52(7): 1787-1799. Available from: 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233995394_Attenuation_of_adjuvant-induced_arthritis_by_dietary_sesamol_via_modulation_of_inflammatory_mediators_extracellular_matrix_degrading_enzymes_and_antioxidant_status

  1. Yadav NV, Sadashivaiah, Ramaiyan B et al. Sesame oil and rice bran oil ameliorates adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats: distinguishing the role of minor components and fatty acids. Lipids.2016; 51(12): 1385-1395. Available from: 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27747452/

  1. Asokan S, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R. Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian Journal of Dental Research. 2009; 20(1): 47. Available from: 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19336860/

  1. Khani B, Bidgoli SR, Moattar F, Hassani H. Effect of sesame on sperm quality of infertile men. Journal of research in medical sciences: the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. 2013; 18(3):184. Available from: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3732896/

  1. Kanu PJ, Bahsoon JZ, Kanu JB et al. Nutraceutical importance of Sesame seed and oil: a review of the contribution of their lignans. Sierra Leone J Biomed Res.2010; 2(1): 4-16. Available from: 

https://www.ajol.info/index.php/sljbr/article/view/56583

  1. Lee SY, Son DJ, Lee YK et al. Inhibitory effect of sesaminol glucosides on lipopolysaccharide-induced NF-κB activation and target gene expression in cultured rat astrocytes. Neurosci Res.2006; 56(2): 204-212. Available from: 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16842873/

  1. Soltan SSA. The protective effect of soybean, Sesame, lentils, pumpkin seeds and molasses on iron deficiency anemia in rats. World Appl Sci J. 2013; 23(6): 795-807. Available from: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.388.2602&rep=rep1&type=pdf 
  1. Kumar A, Kaur G, Kalonia H et al. Evaluation of sesamol and buspirone in stress induced anxiety in mice. Indian J Pharmacol.2013; 45(1):49-53. Available from: 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23543858/

  1. Kiran K, Asad M. Wound healing activity of S. indicum L seed and oil in rats. Indian J Exp Biol.2008;46(11):777-782. 

http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/4648/1/IJEB%2046%2811%29%20777-782.pdf 

  1. Namiki M. Nutraceutical functions of sesame: a review. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition. 2007 Sep 27;47(7):651-73. Available from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408390600919114 
  1. Neering H, Vitányi BE, Malten KE. Allergens in Sesame oil contact dermatitis. Acta Dermato-venereologica.1975;55(1):31-34. Available from: 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/46670/

  1. Kubo Y, Nonaka S, Yoshida H. Contact sensitivity to unsaponifiable substances in Sesame oil. Contact Dermatitis.1986;15(4):215-217. Available from: 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2948757/

  1. Manosroi A, Chaikul P, Chankhampan C et al.5α-reductase inhibition and melanogenesis induction of the selected thai plant extracts. Chiang Mai J Sci.2018;42(3):669-680. Available from: 

https://www.thaiscience.info/Journals/Article/CMJS/10989287.pdf

  1. Obiajunwa EI, Adebiyi FM, Omode PE. Determination of essential minerals and trace elements in Nigerian Sesame seeds, using TXRF technique. Pakistan J Nutr.2005;4(6):393-395. Available from: 

https://docsdrive.com/pdfs/ansinet/pjn/2005/393-395.pdf

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