London: Winters are here and so are the winter special foods. Sesame seeds or til are an indispensable part of Indian winters since time immemorial. Sesame seeds are tiny, oil-rich seeds that grow in pods on the Sesamum indicum plant. Unhulled seeds have the outer, edible husk intact, while hulled seeds come without the husk. The hull gives the seeds a golden-brown hue.
Hulled seeds have an off-white color but turn brown when roasted. Sesame seeds have many potential health benefits and have been used in folk medicine for thousands of years. They may protect against heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. However, you may need to eat significant amounts a small handful per day to gain health benefits.
Health Benefits of White Sesame Seeds
1. Good Source of Fiber:
Three tablespoons (30 grams) of unhulled sesame seeds provide 3.5 grams of fiber, which is 12% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI). Since the average fiber intake in the United States is only half of the RDI, eating sesame seeds regularly could help increase your fiber intake.
Fiber is well known for supporting digestive health. Additionally, growing evidence suggests that fiber may play a role in reducing your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
2. May Lower Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Some studies suggest that regularly eating sesame seeds may help decrease high cholesterol and triglycerides — which are risk factors for heart disease. Sesame seeds consist of 15% saturated fat, 41% polyunsaturated fat, and 39% monounsaturated fat.
Research indicates that eating more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat relative to saturated fat may help lower your cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk. What’s more, sesame seeds contain two types of plant compounds — lignans and phytosterols — that may also have cholesterol-lowering effects.
When 38 people with high blood lipids ate 5 tablespoons (40 grams) of hulled sesame seeds daily for 2 months, they experienced a 10% reduction in “bad” LDL cholesterol and an 8% reduction in triglycerides compared to the placebo group.
3. Nutritious Source of Plant Protein
Sesame seeds supply 5 grams of protein per 3-tablespoon (30-gram) serving. To maximize protein availability, opt for hulled, roasted sesame seeds. The hulling and roasting processes reduce oxalates and phytates — compounds that hamper your digestion and absorption of protein. Protein is essential for your health, as it helps build everything from muscles to hormones.
4. May Help Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Sesame seeds are high in magnesium, which may help lower blood pressure. Additionally, lignans, vitamin E, and other antioxidants in sesame seeds may help prevent plaque buildup in your arteries, potentially maintaining healthy blood pressure.
5. May Aid Blood Sugar Control
Sesame seeds are low in carbs while high in protein and healthy fats — all of which may support blood sugar control. Additionally, these seeds contain pinoresinol, a compound that may help regulate blood sugar by inhibiting the action of the digestive enzyme maltase.
Maltase breaks down the sugar maltose, which is used as a sweetener for some food products. It’s also produced in your gut from the digestion of starchy foods like bread and pasta.
If pinoresinol inhibits your digestion of maltose, this may result in lower blood sugar levels. However, human studies are needed. (Via, healthline.com)