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.
Here are 8 health benefits of sesame seeds.
1. Good Source of Fiber
A 3-tablespoon (30-gram) serving of sesame seeds supplies 12% of the RDI for fiber, which is vital for your digestive health.
2. May Lower Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Sesame seeds may help reduce heart disease risk factors, including elevated triglyceride and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
3. Nutritious Source of Plant Protein
Sesame seeds — particularly hulled ones — are a good source of protein, which is a necessary building block for your body.
4. May Support Healthy Bones
5. Good Source of B Vitamins
Sesame seeds are a good source of thiamine, niacin, and vitamin B6, which are necessary for proper cellular function and metabolism.
6. Rich in Antioxidants
Plant compounds and vitamin E in sesame seeds function as antioxidants, which combat oxidative stress in your body.
7. May Aid Hormone Balance During Menopause
Phytoestrogens are compounds found in sesame seeds that may benefit women who are undergoing menopause.
8. Easy to Add to Your Diet
Sesame seeds can give a nutty flavor and subtle crunch to many dishes.
To enhance the flavor and nutrient availability of sesame seeds, roast them at 350℉ (180℃) for a few minutes, stirring periodically, until they reach a light, golden brown.
Sesame seeds can perk up many dishes, including salads, granola, baked goods, and stir-fries. Tahini and sesame flour are other products made out of sesame seeds.