The Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds

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Filed Under: Heart Health
Last Reviewed 03/07/2014

The Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds

The only time most Americans eat sesame seeds is on the buns of their Big Macs. That’s a shame because there are numerous health benefits of sesame seeds. Their most unique constituent is a lignan called sesamin, which turns out to be one of nature’s most effective fat-soluble antioxidants.

In addition to fighting free radicals, sesamin increases blood and tissue levels of vitamin E, including the particularly potent gamma tocopherol form, which helps put the brakes on inflammatory processes in the body.

Sesame seed lignans are also a  cholesterol-reducing food. Studies have shown that taking 32 mg sesamin or 40 grams of sesame seeds daily lowered total cholesterol and improved the LDL:HDL ratio. Other studies suggest that the benefits of sesame seeds may also include protection against breast tumors and other hormone-mediated cancers.

The Best Sources of Sesamin

Need another reason to add sesame seeds to your diet? They taste great. Sprinkle them on salads or cereal, add them to baked goods or eat them in the form of tahini, which is kind of like peanut butter made from ground sesame seeds.

Sesamin supplements are also available in health-food stores. Look for a product standardized for 60 percent sesamin, and take 20–40 mg per day for the optimal benefits of sesame seeds.

Now it’s your turn: Do you have a favorite way to enjoy the benefits of sesame seeds?

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