Sesame: The Super Seed!

Sesame: The Super Seed!

Dr Cesar Lara

If any food belongs as much in the kitchen as it does in your medicine cabinet, it is sesame.

Sesame (Sesamum indicum) has been used for its healing properties for thousands of years and is among the oldest cultivated oilseeds, earning its reputation as the queen of oilseeds. Due to the abundant presence of vitamins, minerals, natural oils, lignans, antioxidants, and protein found within the seed, it is recognized for its incredible nutritional value and health promoting abilities. It is a natural antiviral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory agent that will help you on your way to becoming your best self.

What are the Benefits?

These tiny seeds are packed with so many minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, B- vitamins, and Vitamin E, just to name a few, that its benefits are virtually endless. As of now, there are over one hundred potential therapeutic applications(1) ranging from skincare and oral health to even preventing the production of a wide range of cancer cells. Who knew such a little seed could make a huge difference in your health!

Promotes Weight Loss

Sesame seeds are high in dietary fibre, an important element in healthy digestion. Fibre rich foods play a crucial role in losing weight while also maintaining muscle mass by helping keep you full longer and prevent overeating or binge eating. Sesame also contains important phytochemical compounds that have been found to boost metabolism. Its low sodium content helps regulate bodily fluids while preventing water retention that accounts for water weight. The presence of lignans in sesame causes the body to release fat burning liver enzymes which in turn help burn fat and inhibit the formation and absorption of cholesterol, decrease fat metabolism, and curbs hunger. Packed with potent amino acids like tryptophan and fat-burning polyphenols like sesamin and sesamol (2), this seed will help you burn that stubborn belly fat and have you rocking your favourite pair of skinny jeans.

Improves Heart Health

Sesame oil, as a supplement, has been found to have high anti-atherogenic effects and anti-inflammatory properties playing an important role in overall heart health. Sesamol, the lignans found within sesame seeds, have been found to naturally lower cholesterol especially “bad” LDL cholesterol and normalize and improve blood pressure while increasing antioxidant levels in the body. Sesame oil is rich in both poly- and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs and PUFAs) (3) which also help lower cholesterol. In a study on mice, a sesame oil diet significantly reduced atherosclerotic lesions (4), plasma cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels – involved in cholesterol metabolism and reverse cholesterol transport. Combined with its rich presence of magnesium which aids in combatting diabetes, sesame is found to be a rather effective nonpharmacological treatment for reducing atherosclerosis (5) and risk of chronic inflammatory disease, a major form of cardiovascular disease.


The topical use of sesame has also been found to have several benefits including relieving joint pain and exhibiting anti-aging properties.  Research has shown that the topical use of sesame oil might attenuate oxidative stress (6) by inhibiting the production of xanthine oxidase and nitric oxide in rats. Sesame oil, used topically, has been found to calm burns (2) caused by wind or sun exposure and acts as a natural sunscreen. The application of sesame oil has been found to nourish the scalp and kill dandruff causing bacteria, help tighten facial skin and control the enlargement of pores as skin naturally ages. Applying sesame oil daily, will leave your skin feeling younger while still providing it with the protection it needs.

Anti-Cancer Properties

The organic compound in sesame seeds, called sesamol has been associated with protection against UV radiation (7) and gamma radiation-induced DNA damage (1) by reversing the damaging effects of free radicals through its antioxidant properties and presence of phytate (8), a rare cancer- preventing compound. It also contains sesamin, a fat-soluble lignin found to have powerful anti-carcinogenic effects and inhibit growth of various cancer cells.

Aids in Depression

If all that wasn’t enough to go run to the market and get your supply, this super seed can even help combat depression. In a study done on chronically stressed mice, the lignin, sesamol, was found to regulate oxidative-nitrosative stress and inflammation, exerting an antidepressant-like effect (9).

Make A Simple Change!

Sesame seeds can be easily incorporated to your diet:  add it to your salads, smoothies, and sandwiches. Sesame can be sprinkled on just about anything- the possibilities are endless!

Replace the fatty oils in your kitchen with sesame oil. It is great alternative to fatty oils like peanut and just like extra virgin olive oil it is cold-pressed (10) rather than chemically processed, making it a great unrefined option to add to your meals.

Combined with physical activity and a balanced diet, this seed can help you feeling healthy from the inside out!

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