Black Sesame Seeds: Health benefits for better digestion, stronger bones, and longevity

13 Health benefits of black sesame seeds

1-Anti-ageing properties

The Chinese believe that the nutrients in black sesame seeds can help in postponing or reversing, certain age-related side effects. As a scientific study done by Harvard University, black sesame seeds are rich in vitamin B and iron, and most people who have a vitamin B or iron deficiency show symptoms like hair turning gray, hearing loss and memory loss, all of which are the indicators of ageing.

2-Prevents sagging skin

The consumption of sesame can also help slow the aging of the skin. Zinc and antioxidants prevent the harmful influence of sunlight and promote tissue rejuvenation.
Helps prevent some types of cancer and slows down early aging.
The presence of vitamin E in black sesame tea acts as a potent antioxidant that helps prevent some types of cancer, heart disease, and slows down premature aging.

3-Rich source of nutrients

Black sesame tea is rich in essential nutrients in our body like vitamins, calcium, fiber, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium.
In addition to these nutrients necessary for the proper functioning of the human body, also has healthy fats and proteins, which act on the bloodstream.

4-Controls blood pressure:

Black sesame seeds are rich in magnesium that helps prevent hypertension. Polyunsaturated fats and the compound sesamin present in sesame oil are known to keep blood pressure levels in check. Magnesium is already well known as a close friend for hypertension. Consuming a handful of black sesame seeds daily can offer up to 25% of all the magnesium the body needs in a day. So, its also a fantastic food for people who has cramps and tension in muscles, and also inflammatory diseases.

5-Reduces cholesterol

Black sesame oil, like olive oil, is rich in monounsaturated fats. These fats help good cholesterol carry the bad cholesterol present in the bloodstream back to the liver so they are eliminated by the body.
The lecithin present in black sesame seeds also helps the body to dissolve fat plaques that are formed on the walls of blood vessels preventing cardiovascular diseases, strokes and thrombosis.

6-Improves brain activity

The abundant amount of lecithin present in black sesame seeds also helps to improve brain function. This improvement is due to increased oxygenation of the blood resulting from the large amount of red blood cells in the bloodstream.

7-Reduces anxiety

Substances like thiamine and tryptophan, stimulants that make up the nutrients of black sesame tea and are responsible for the production of serotonin, which brings the feelings of well-being to our brain, along with calcium and magnesium, reduce the symptoms of anxiety.

8-Fight against anemia

The large amount of iron present in black sesame tea also acts to combat anemia, since iron is responsible for supplying oxygen to the bloodstream.

9-Prevention of cancer

The sesamin chemical compound found in sesame seeds is found to protect the liver against the damage caused by free radicals and toxins in the body. It's well known the seeds are rich in fiber, lignans and phytosterol (phytochemicals), which can protect you against the development of colon cancer.

10-Strengthens the immune system

The combination of all these elements in black sesame seeds also ends up strengthening the immune system as a whole.

11-Improve constipation and indigestion

Ayurvedic Indian Medicine believe that the black sesame seed can help in curing constipation due to the high fiber content and unsaturated fatty acid content. The oil found in the seed can lubricate your intestines, while the fiber in the seed helps in smooth bowel movements. These seeds also help in clearing up worms in your intestinal tract and improve the digestion process. Toasting and grinding the seeds or soaking them overnight can help make the seeds more digestible, because can eliminate the oxalates, which normally interfere in the absorption of the minerals and nutrients from the seeds.

12-Helps in weight loss

Being a great source of fiber, sesame helps to detoxify the body through the better functioning of the intestine. The presence of the fibers also increases the sensation of satiety, which contributes to the loss of weight.

13-Prevents osteoporosis

The great amount of calcium present in black sesame seeds helps prevent osteoporosis and helps bone development, also acting to prevent muscle aches, cramps and even rickets.
Osteoporosis is a condition of weak bones with an increased susceptibility to fracture when have traumatic accidents. Bone mass have the tendency to decrease after the age of 35, and osteoporosis occurs more rapidly in women after menopause. Black sesame seeds are rich in calcium, zinc and magnesium that can greatly revitalize and make stronger your bones.

How different cultures use black sesame seeds?

Since ancient times, sesame seeds are in use for traditional purposes. Sesame seeds are used in Hindu culture as a "symbol of immortality” and its oil is used widely in prayers and rituals performed during death of an individual. "Butter of the Middle East,” tahini, a smooth, creamy paste made up of toasted ground hulled sesame seeds is a traditional ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking. They are highly valued for their oil. It may be a small seed but no doubt a very powerful one, used for many health-promoting and anti-ageing benefits. You can incorporate these nutrient-rich seeds in your cereals, rice, noodles or any other dishes at mealtime. You could even mix them with your yoghurt or smoothie for a rich nutty flavor. In Japan, whole seeds are found in servings of mixed greens and baked snacks, and tan and black sesame seed varieties are toasted and used to make gomashio, a dry condiment. You will also find sesame seeds sprinkled over sushi rolls. Black sesame seeds are also popularly used in Korean cooking to marinate meat and vegetables. Chefs in tempura restaurants mix black sesame seeds with cottonseed oil for deep-frying. Sesame is also known as SimSim in Africa and used is to make various dishes like Wangila which is made with ground black sesame seeds is mostly presented with smoked fish or lobster.
Black sesame seeds and its oil are used widely across India. The seeds are often blended with warm jaggery, sugar, or palm sugar and made into balls that are eaten as a snack. In Manipur, black sesame is used for the preparation of Thoiding and Singju (a kind of salad). Thoiding is prepared with ginger, chilli and vegetables and is served along with the spicy Singju dish.
Southern Indian cuisine depends upon sesame oil for cooking while in China, it was the only cooking oil until quite recently. Sesame seed benefits the body, especially the liver, kidney, spleen and stomach. Its high oil content not only lubricates the intestines but nourishes all the internal viscera. It is also known to blacken the hair, especially the black sesame. Hence, it is applied to white hair, habitual constipation and insufficient lactation. Sesame oil is also helpful in treating intestinal worms such as ascaris, tapeworm, etc.
Black sesame seeds are a good source of energy due to the high fat content. They contain healthy fats like polyunsaturated fatty acids and Omega-6. They also contain fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

How to use black sesame seeds?

You can sprinkle these nutrient-rich seeds over your cereals, noodles or rice. You can also mix them with your yogurt or smoothie to give it that nutty flavour. Also, if you soak these seeds overnight it aids in the absorption of calcium and minerals from the seeds, as well as reduces the effects of oxalic acid found in them that can prevent the absorption of nutrients. People who have a weak stomach or a history of kidney stone, should not consume too much of it.
Much consumed mainly by those seeking help for their diets, sesame can be consumed in many ways besides tea. Soups, juices, breads, biscuits, rice and fruits can quietly be added with black sesame.
Who wants to take full advantage of all its benefits, can ingest up to 2 tablespoons of raw black sesame in shell daily.

What Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) says about Black Sesame seeds?

According to traditional chinese medicine there are two main types of sesame seeds, the white sesame seeds (Semen Sesami albi) and black sesami (Sesame indicum). The most medicinal one is the black sesame that is a tonic for the yin of liver and kidney, prolonging the life of people if taken daily, tonifying the essence of life called Jing. Jing is basically a substance that is used for regeneration and reproduction in the body. Also, traditional books say that can improve eyesight, preventing premature greying of hair.
Taoists alchemists cherish black sesame a lot, they consume its powder with equal quantity of white honey, making a ball of mixed black sesame powder and honey, for treating lung diseases, moistening the five viscera's (Gallbladder, Large intestine, Bladder, Stomach, Small intestine). Eating it may replace normal food. It fills Jing (Vital Essence) and marrow. Being most beneficial to man, that normally are more Yang, and lacking Yin energy.
Black sesame in ancient times of China was considered a food for immortality, but is no longer used in this way, maybe because it requires a long-time consumption for getting all the benefits, and people are not patient anymore. People want fast results, but it's doesn't work like that. Persistent use of black sesame will bring great benefits for health and wellbeing.

About white sesame seeds, traditional chinese medicine books says that it is considered sweet, very cold and non-toxic. Great ancient TCM doctors said that white sesame seeds should be consumed every day. The crude seeds is cold in quality, when its stir-fried, it becomes hot and may induce the onset of diseases. When it is steamed, it is warm and tonifying. It treats deficient and consumptive diseases. It facilitates the function of the stomach and Intestine. It disperses pathogenic wind, promotes blood circulation, and disperses floating wind resting with the head, meaning its good to treat headache that was caused after a person be exposed to wind. It moisten the muscles. Let the woman nursing a baby eat this, and the child will be free from any diseases.

Ancient taoists alchemists in China, steam the seeds and use it to replace normal food consumption., due to its high level of nutrients.

How to make a medicinal paste with black sesame seeds?

200gr of Black Sesame Seeds
100gr of Walnuts
200gr of Pumpkin seed
100gr of whole oat seeds
Cane molasses (6 tablespoons well filled for a 500gr. jar)
Sesame Oil (Cold Pressure) until the whole paste is well emulsified (until it reaches the maximum absorption capacity of the paste). Or Sunflower oil, or even Coconut oil as each one prefers.

Medicinal and Aromatic Herbs that can be added to the paste:
-Cinnamon poder
-Cardamom poder

1- Toasting in a frying pan or oven separately or together the nuts, black sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, whole oat seeds.

2- Grinding the powder in a cooking appliance separately or together the nuts, black sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, whole oat seeds.
3- Add the powdered ingredients to a jar and add the sesame oil or other cold pressed oil until the ground ingredients are completely saturated with the oil.
4- Then add the blackstrap molasses. approximately 5 tablespoons well filled to a 500gr glass bottle.
5- At the end add the Cinnamon or Cardamom, or the 2 together according to the taste of each one. We can also add Powder Ginseng or Astragalus according to each one health conditions.

How to make a simple black sesame seeds porridge?

Where can I buy sesame seeds?

You can find black sesame seeds in many types of places, from normal supermarkets, natural products shop, Biologic products shop or Asian supermarkets such us Chinese, Thailand or Indian Supermarkets in western countries. Off course, can also buy online in many online shops of your country.


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Posted by Dr. João Carrilho

Dr. João Carrilho
Doctor in Traditional Chinese Medicine by Southwest Medical University, China.
Licensed Acupuncturist (N.0500096) and Phytotherapist (N.0400028) by the Portuguese Health Ministry.
Post-Graduated in Health Sciences at Oporto University, Portugal

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