In traditional Chinese Medicine black sesame seeds are considered as one of the best anti-aging foods. With a rich nutty flavor, sesame has one of the highest oil content of any seed. They come in different varieties and may be black, brown, red, and tan in colour. The nutritional composition of all sesame seeds is almost similar. Except that black variety has exceptionally high amount of antioxidants and anti-aging benefits.
Sesame seeds are a good source of hair nourishing vitamins and minerals such as copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin B1, amino acids, selenium, and dietary fiber. Plus, these tiny seeds also contain natural antioxidants – sesamin, sesamolin, and sesamol.
Research suggests that antioxidants present in the black sesame seeds can counteract or neutralize the effect of free radicals that damage cells and cause aging (including grey hair). Chinese medicine believe that black sesame seeds have great medicinal value and are good at nourishing the kidney and liver and promoting hair growth and hair colour. According to the Chinese science, the hair is nourished by the blood and the skin receives moisture from the body’s Yin. So when there is deficiency in the Yin and the blood, it will affect the hair and the skin, causing hair loss, greying, and dry or itchy skin. Black sesame seed provides nourishment to the Yin and the Blood, thereby resolving the root cause. Along with nourishing the scalp and stimulating hair growth, black sesame seeds can promote melanocyte activity to produce melanin – the pigment responsible for hair and skin colour.
Other Health Benefits of Black Sesame Seeds
- Encourages Bone Health and Prevents Osteoporosis: Sesame seeds are a good source of bone-forming minerals (calcium, phosphorous, magnesium). One tablespoon of unhulled seeds contain about 88mg of calcium, more than a glass of milk. Plus the high zinc content increases bone mineral density.
- Helps you sleep Better: Sesame contain the stress-relieving minerals magnesium and calcium. It also contains amino acid tryptophan that help produce serotonin, which assists moods and helps you sleep better by restoring the normal sleep pattern.
- Skin beautifying: The oleic acid in sesame seed offers skin softening as well as cell regenerating benefits. And the linoleic acid helps restore skin barrier and prevents moisture loss from your skin. While the high phytosterols are great for reducing redness and itching and combating weather damaged skin.
- Relieves arthritis: The high copper content in sesame seeds helps in reducing pain and swelling associated with arthritis. In addition, this mineral keeps your bones and joints flexible and healthy.
- Prevents Cancer: Sesame seeds contain anti-cancer compounds including phytic acid, magnesium and phytosterols. And the phytosterol content of sesame (especially the black sesame seeds) is the highest of any commonly consumed seeds and nuts.
- Protects Liver: The antioxidants in the black sesame seeds protect the liver from oxidative damage, helping you maintain healthy liver function.
- Alleviates Anemia: Black sesame seeds have higher iron content than other varieties, so they’re highly recommended for people suffering from anemia.
- Good for cardiovascular health: The lignans (sesamin and sesamolin) present in the sesame seeds are believed toreduce blood cholesterol levels and prevent high blood pressure. Also, magnesium and calcium are important essential minerals that help regulate blood pressure.
- Prevents Asthma: The magnesium in the sesame seeds help to prevent airway spasm in asthma patients.
- Improves eye health: As per traditional Chinese medicine, eyes are closely related to liver healthy. When liver is affected the eyes become tired and dry and vision may become blurred. Black sesame seeds are a natural tonic for liver, which in turn is believed to nourish and support eyes’ function.
How To Enjoy Black Sesame Seeds
- Dry roast lightly under a low flame just for few minutes. Their flavour becomes more pronounced on roasting. Sprinkle over salad, sandwich, stir-fry, or simply eat a handful as a snack.
- You can also soak or sprout sesame seeds. Soak overnight, drain the water and eat. Or let them sprout for 2 to 3 days.
- Til Ke ladoo or Sesame candy is traditional sweet dish of India. Made with sesame and jaggery (unrefined sugar), til ke ladoo is enjoyed by people of all age groups. Here is the recipe: Sesame Ladoos
- You can even make a black sesame soup, which is actually a dessert, made with black sesame seed, rice, and sugar
Note: The seed hull contains phytic acid, an anti-nutritive factor, which can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients. Soaking and roasting them can greatly reduce the phytic acid content and also improve the flavour and digestibility.
How much to eat: Recommended daily dose of black sesame seeds is from 10 to 15 grams or one level tablespoon.
Storing Instruction: Always store sesame seeds in airtight containers, in cool dark place to avoid them turn rancid.
Sesame seed allergy: Sesame can trigger allergic reactions in some people. If you have diarrhoea or fever avoid eating black sesame seeds.
Ref: Article sources from Hair Buddha—natural hair tips & inspirations