Black Sesame

Black sesame is a small, oily seed found in the pods of the Sesamum indicum plant. The more popular white variety is also obtained from the same plant - these are the same seeds, but without the outer layer. Does unshelled sesame have more health benefits? What valuable nutrients can be found in black sesame seeds?

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Black sesame - nutritional values

It may seem that the differences in the composition of white and black sesame are minimal. It turns out, however, that by removing the shell from the seeds, we also deprive them of many valuable ingredients - primarily a huge amount of calcium.

What exactly is the difference? Huge. Two tablespoons of shelled seeds (white) contain 10 mg of this ingredient, while black seeds contain as much as 180 mg.

For the sake of accuracy, it should be added that the distinction between black (unshelled) and white (shelled) sesame is general and there are exceptions (seeds with white husks).

To be sure, it is best to read what seeds are mentioned on the packaging. In the case of black sesame, there is no such problem - shelled seeds are never black.

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Black sesame - health benefits

Including black sesame seeds in your regular diet can have a positive effect on the human body, because the substances they contain are involved in most of the most important processes that take place in the human body.

The most important benefits of eating black sesame are:

Improving blood circulation and regulating too high blood pressure

This effect is probably caused by a large amount of magnesium and lignans, one of the groups of antioxidants present in the seeds.

A study in which a group of people with hypertension took 2.5 g of black sesame powder daily for a month showed a 6 percent improvement. compared to the control group taking placebo. This directly translates into a lower risk of heart attack and stroke.

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Healthy bones

The main ingredient responsible for the good condition of the skeletal system is calcium, which can be found in large amounts in unshelled sesame seeds.

Its operation is complemented by, among others: magnesium, manganese and zinc. Unfortunately, the absorption of these elements is limited by oxalates and phytates, also present in the seeds.

To reduce their impact, it is worth soaking or roasting black sesame seeds before eating them. Sesame also contains sesamin, which strengthens cartilage, which can relieve knee pain and arthritic symptoms.

Improving the condition of skin and hair

Black sesame seeds are rich in substances that have been used in cosmetics for years, and many studies confirm their beneficial effects, which can be noticed when looking in the mirror.

The most important ingredients that improve the condition of hair, skin and nails include iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Cosmetology also uses sesame oil, which has UV filter properties, soothes burns and prevents skin aging.

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Better intestinal functioning

One tablespoon of black sesame seeds is 1 g of fiber. That's about 4 percent daily requirement. Fiber is widely known for its good effect on the digestive system.

It improves intestinal peristalsis, i.e. regulates and increases the frequency of contractions, which eliminates constipation and supports regular bowel movements.

Fiber in your diet prevents obesity, and some research also suggests reducing the risk of certain cancers. Fiber is also one of the most important ingredients in any weight loss diet.

Large amounts of antioxidants

Sesame seeds, like most oil plants, are one of the best sources of antioxidants that have a positive impact on virtually every aspect of health.

In addition to the lignans mentioned above - sesamin and sesamolin, black sesame also contains gamma-tocopherol. This difficult name covers one of the forms of vitamin E.

Black sesame reduces the risk of cancer mutations, reduces inflammation, and in practice improves the condition of all cells in the human body.

Supports the functioning of the thyroid gland

Sesame seeds contain at least several substances that support the thyroid gland and its proper functioning. It is primarily selenium, which is involved in the production of thyroid hormones. Zinc, iron and copper also have positive effects on this organ.

May prevent greying of hair

Many studies suggest that consuming black sesame seeds may contribute to the delay of many aging-related processes. Such claims find their strongest foundation in their high antioxidant content.

How can black sesame seeds slow down the greying process? Previous information showed overall improvement in hair condition with regular consumption. Melanocytes, i.e. pigment cells, strengthened by substances from black sesame are responsible for maintaining the natural color.

Black sesame - recommended daily intake and dish ideas

To feel the positive effects of including black sesame in your diet, most doctors and dieticians recommend consuming one to three tablespoons a day (approx. 20 g). Ready-to-eat seeds can be purchased in most supermarkets, and capsules with powdered seeds are also available in pharmacies.

It is much better to include whole black sesame seeds in your diet, which, with minimal effort, can change and enrich the taste of many dishes. You can add them to any salads, fried or boiled vegetables, but also to rice or pasta sauces.

Black sesame will perfectly fit into virtually all Middle Eastern and Asian dishes. Grains are also added to baked goods. They also work well in breading, especially for fried fish.

We can also make tahini paste from black sesame, which makes delicious homemade hummus.

If you haven't tried black sesame seeds yet and are just starting your adventure with them in the kitchen, you should be careful because sometimes undesirable effects may occur after eating them.

Black sesame - contraindications

Sesame is one of the most common allergens, which, by law, must be marked on all products that may contain even trace amounts of it. In case of allergy, typical symptoms may appear - headaches and abdominal pain, general fatigue, nausea and diarrhea. There is always a risk of anaphylactic shock.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also limit the consumption of black and other varieties of sesame. It is not recommended to use it in any form in children under 3 years of age.

Due to the high content of fats and substances that require a lot of energy to digest, eating sesame is not suitable for people with chronic digestive system diseases and suffering from temporary ailments - who experience diarrhea or vomiting after poisoning or during a seasonal infection.

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