Those little tiny seeds that come on your hamburger bun have been long underestimated for their health benefits. Sesame seed have been used for centuries as a natural way to gain valuable nutrients through food and keep a heart-healthy body happy.
According to the World's Healthiest Foods www.whfoods.org, sesame seeds contain elements like calcium, magnesium and zinc, minerals like iron and copper, phytosterols, and two valuable forms of fiber.
Historically, sesame seeds have been grown in tropical corners of the world and are used regularly in the traditional Indian medicine practice of Ayurveda. According to www.joyfulbelly.com, sesame seeds are considered warming to the body and promote digestion, bone health and lubricate the body. Warm sesame oil is often massaged on the body to help improve skin quality and vascular circulation.
So how many of these power packed seeds is needed daily and what diseases can they help the body fight? Ayurveda recommends a small handful of seeds, chewed thoroughly, daily for men and women. Check out the Sesame List to find out just what ingredients in sesame seeds are disease fighting and health promoting!
Everyone knows calcium is good for your bones, but a lesser known fact is that calcium can help relieve pain. Calcium from sesame seeds may help relieve cramps associated with PMS during the luteal phase. Zinc is calcium's partner in fighting osteoporosis and promotes strong bones. Last, but not least, is Magnesium, a key element that has been tied to reducing migraine frequency.
Phytosterols fight Cholesterol
Some of the most important nutrients found in nuts and seeds are phytosterols. These natural, plant compounds have a chemical structure similar to cholesterol, which in sufficient dietary amounts may compete with existing cholesterol in the blood and lower its levels. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the strategy for fighting cholesterol is to replace unhealthy fats with healthy ones and that "As part of a heart-healthy eating plan, consuming phytosterols in recommended quantities has been shown to lower total cholesterol up to 10 percent and LDL or “bad” cholesterol up to 14 percent.
Fiber Lignans Fight cholesterol
Last, but not least, is the old standby, friendly fiber. So much research has been conducted on fiber that it is now recommended nationwide as part of a healthy diet to prevent cancer, lower cholesterol and for a healthy gut. According to the National Cholesterol Education Program, the ATPIII guidelines recommend adding 10-25 g/day of soluble fiber along with plant stanols/sterols (2g/day) as therapeutic options to enhance LDL lowering.
Sesame seeds contain the two unique compounds sesamin and sesamolin. Both are a type of fiber from the group called lignans. Studies with lignans from similar seeds, such as flaxseed lignans, have been shown to reduce cholesterol in moderately hypercholesterolemic men when taken daily.