Sesame seeds are a rich source of fiber, calcium, and other essential nutrients that provide the body with many health-boosting benefits.
Usually thought of only as a topping on hamburger buns and crackers, sesame seeds are often overlooked as a nutrition-packed food source. Just a small 1-oz. serving of sesame seeds is rich in many of the nutrients the body needs for overall health and which help to decrease the risk of developing certain illnesses.
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Nutrients in Sesame Seeds
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a 1-oz. serving of sesame seeds contains 160 calories, 5 g of protein, 7 g of carbohydrates, and 14 g of fat. Sesame seeds are a very good source of copper and manganese. In addition, sesame seeds contain:
- Vitamin B1
Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are a good source of dietary fiber with 3 g of fiber per 1-oz. serving. Fiber helps to lower cholesterol and also helps in controlling blood sugar and may aid in weight loss efforts by keeping you feeling fuller longer. Fiber also promotes a healthy digestive system.
Sesame seeds are also a good source of calcium, providing 27 %DV (Percent Daily Value) of calcium per 1-oz. serving. Calcium not only promotes healthy teeth, also helps decrease the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Sesame seeds contain phytonutrients and phytosterols, both of which may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The lignan phytonutrients found in sesame seeds have antioxidant activity, offering the body protection against free-radical damage.
Vitamin B1, or thiamin, helps boost energy and reduce blood pressure, and vitamin B1 may help promote restful sleep and improve mood.
Magnesium, also found in sesame seeds, has proven useful in reducing symptoms of PMS and prevention of type 2 diabetes in overweight women. Also, research suggests having a higher magnesium intake through diet and supplements is linked to a lowered risk of developing metabolic syndrome in healthy adults.
Calories and Fat in Sesame Seeds
Although a bit high in calories and fat, sesame seeds still offer health benefits when eaten in moderation. The American Heart Association advises moderate amounts of the healthy fats found in sesame seeds, monounsaturated fats, can help to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and help to prevent stroke.
- American Heart Association. (29 Oct 2010). “Monounsaturated Fats.” Accessed December 27, 2010 from Heart.org.
- Mateljan, George. The World’s Healthiest Foods Essential Guide for the Healthiest Way of Eating. Seattle: George Mateljan Foundation, 2007.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference for Standard Reference. (n.d.). “Sesame Seeds.” Accessed December 26, 2010 from Nal.usda.gov.
- WebMD, LLC. (n.d.). “Magnesium.” Accessed December 26, 2010 from WebMD.com.