Sesame seeds (sesamum indicum) are one of the oldest condiments known to man. Let’s take a look at sesame seed benefits.
These small seeds are very nutritious and have many health benefits. They are known to add a nutty taste, sweet flavor and delicate, almost invisible, crunch to many Asian dishes.
They are highly honored as affordable food that deeply nourishes the body on many levels.
Here is a list of scientifically proven facts on how sesame seeds can do wonders for your body. Keep scrolling for a super appetizing Sesame Seed Balls recipe, called laddus, which will keep your body warm and cozy in winter.
From the Ayurvedic perspective, sesame seed (til) is sweet, bitter, pungent and astringent in taste.
They absorb and enter the body channels very quickly (vyavai). They are heavy (guru), unctuous (snigdha), deep penetrating (sukshma), have a hot potency (ushna virya) with a sweet post digestive effect (madhur vipaka).1
Sesame seeds are considered to be strength promoting (balya).
They are a hair tonic (keshya) and rejuvenator (rasayana). They balance Vata (vataghna), improve the complexion (varnya), detoxify the body (vishghna), promote intelligence (medhavardhaka) and improve digestion (agnivardhaka).
They are good for bones (bhagna prasadak) and are an aphrodisiac (vajikara).2
Sesame seeds promote longevity and preserve youth.
The ancient Ayurvedic sages Charaka and Sushruta mentioned the properties of sesame in the Ayurvedic texts.
Sesame seeds promote longevity and preserve youth. They are beneficial for the skin (twachya), hair (keshya) and teeth (dantya). They strengthen the body (balya), increase intelligence (buddhivardhaka) and digestive power (agnivardhaka).3,4
In the ancient treatise of Ayurveda, there are three varieties of sesame seeds, black, white and red or brown.
The black variety of sesame (Krishna tila) or black sesame seeds are considered to have excellent medicinal properties and are used in Ayurvedic treatments and preparations.
White seeds have medium properties and red or other seeds have ordinary medicinal properties.
The chemical constituents in sesame seeds6 are 55% oils, sesamin, sesamolin, and sesamol.
Fatty oils composed mainly of oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmate acid, stearic acid, arachidonic acid, and glycerol are supposed to possess antioxidant effects in the body.
If you’d like to learn more about Ayurvedic nutrition, check out Todd Caldecott’s course below.
Sesame seeds are an excellent source of copper, manganese, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, vitamins B1, B6, and dietary fiber.
Here are some notable vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you can expect to find in one ounce (28g) serving of sesame seeds.
Manganese – 0.7 mg. 35% RDA.
Copper – 0.7 mg. 35% RDA.
Calcium – 277 mg. 28% RDA.
Iron – 4.1 mg. 23% RDA.
Magnesium – 99.7 mg. 25% RDA.
Tryptophan – 93 mg.
Zinc – 2 mg. 13% RDA.
Fiber – 3.9 g. 16% RDA.
Thiamine – 0.2 mg. 15% RDA.
Vitamin B6 – 0.2 mg. 11% RDA.
Phosphorous – 179 mg. 18% RDA.
Protein – 4.7 g.
Now let’s have a look at more sesame seeds benefits.
Sesame Seeds Lower Cholesterol
Sesame seeds have powerful cholesterol-lowering effects. Sesame seeds are one of the main Ayurvedic ingredients that can help manage cholesterol.
They are ranked highest in cholesterol-lowering phytosterols of nearly all nuts, seeds, legumes and grains.
Black sesame seeds are especially high in phytosterols. Phytosterols are plant sterols structurally similar to cholesterol that block cholesterol production, and act on the intestine to lower cholesterol absorption.8
Sesame Seeds Boost Heart Health
Sesame seeds prevent atherosclerotic lesions and so are beneficial for heart health.
Research conducted on hypertensive rats demonstrated that when the degree of vascular hypertrophy of the aorta and superior mesenteric artery was histochemically evaluated, wall thickness and wall area of these vessels were significantly found decreased by the sesamin (a lignan from sesame) feeding.
The histological renal damage such as the thickening of tunica intima and fibrinoid degeneration of the arterial wall also decreased.9
Sesamin is also valuable for prophylactic treatment to fight against the development of cardiac hypertrophy and renal hypertension.10 Besides this, sesamin is a potent antioxidant and proves to be a potential compound in stroke therapy.11
Sesame Seeds Normalize Blood Pressure
Sesame is considered a strong antihypertensive since it can help normalize blood pressure levels. Research shows that lignans present in sesame seed supplementation improve lipid profiles and normalize cholesterol and blood pressure in hypertensive adults.
Sesame is impressive. Sesame oil which is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFA, sesamin and vitamin E greatly reduces hypertension when compared to blood pressure-lowering drugs.12
Moreover, sesame seeds are full of magnesium, a key nutrient known to help lower blood pressure.
If you’d like to learn more about Ayurvedic nutrition, check out Todd Caldecott’s course below.
Sesame Seeds Prevent And Manage Diabetes
Magnesium present in sesame seeds aids in preventing the chances of diabetes onset and manages the symptoms in patients with diabetes.
Apart from this, sesame oil exhibited synergistic effects with glibenclamide medicine used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
It can provide a safe and effective option for the drug combination that may be very useful in clinical practice for the effective improvement of hyperglycemia.
Sesame seeds regulate insulin and glucose levels in the body, thereby helping to manage the symptoms of diabetes.13
Sesame Seeds Improve Anemia
Sesame seeds, especially the black ones, are rich in copper which is important for iron absorption. They are highly recommended for those suffering from anemia and weakness. Furthermore, the research found that flavonoids present in sesame are effective in raising hemoglobin levels.14
Sesame Seeds Are Excellent Analgesics
The high copper content of sesame seeds has a number of valuable functions, including the reduction of inflammation in joints, bones, and muscles, thereby reducing pain in arthritis.15
Extract of sesame seeds has shown a significant antioxidant and analgesic activity during research.16 Major lignan present in sesame or sesamin prove to be anti-inflammatory and have therapeutic potential in relieving pain.17
Sesame Seeds Benefit The Nervous System
Calcium and magnesium, the important components of sesame seeds help in relaxing the nervous system. Sesamin and sesamolin exert effective neuroprotection effects.18 Research shows that sesamol, another lignan present in sesame seeds, can be used as an effective agent in the management of degenerative neurological disorders.19 Sesamol inhibits cytokine production and oxidative stress which may decrease the physiological effects of stress in humans.
Sesame Seeds Possess Anti-Aging Effects
Sesame seeds promote healthy and beautiful skin as they are rich in omega-6, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, vitamins B and E which have been used as products for beautification.
Sesame seeds are considered the ‘fountain of youth’. They contain high levels of zinc, a vital component in the formation of collagen, which strengthens the muscle tissue, hair and skin.
Sesame seed oil reduces the appearance of burns and marks on the skin, as well as the signs of premature aging.
The anti-aging effect of sesame is strongly due to vitamin E activity caused by a novel synergistic effect of sesame lignans with tocopherols resulting from the inhibition of metabolic decomposition of tocopherols by sesame lignans. And so sesame acts as a rejuvenator.20
Sesame Seeds Help Balance Hormones
Sesame ingestion benefits postmenopausal women by improving blood lipids, antioxidant status, and sex hormone status.
Research shows that the sesamin, sesame lignan, was converted by intestinal microflora to enterolactone, a compound with estrogenic activity thus correcting hormonal imbalances.21 Lignans present in the pericarp exert phyto-oestrogenic activity so they help in the reduction of postmenopausal symptoms.25
Sesame Seeds Decrease Cancer Risk
Sesamol present in sesame induces growth arrest and apoptosis of cancer and cardiovascular cells.22 Sesame seeds also inhibit the growth of malignant melanoma and proliferation of human colon cancer cells.23
The mammalian lignans enterolactone and enterodiol, which are produced by the microflora in the colon of humans and animals from precursors from ungrounded whole sesame seeds have potential anticancer effects especially in regard to preventing colon and breast cancers.24
Sesame Seeds Boost Bone Health
Low zinc intake and reduced blood zinc concentrations in the blood have been reported to be associated with osteoporosis.26 Black sesame seeds are abundant in calcium and zinc that increases bone mineral density and thus strengthens the bone.
Sesame Seeds Fight Obesity
Sesame increases the fat burning process and decreases fat storage in the body. Intake of sesame seeds has given excellent results as a therapeutic strategy in the prevention of obesity-induced type 2 hyperglycemia.27
Sesame Seeds Nullify The Effects Of Alcohol
Sesamin of sesame regulates the metabolism of lipids, xenobiotics, and alcohol at the mRNA level helps the liver to decompose the harmful effects of alcohol as well as other substances that generate poison in the body.28
Sesame seeds (til) provide heat and energy to the body which is necessary to beat the cold in winter.
It is considered a special food for winter. The best way of having these super seeds is in the form of a ball-shaped sweet or laddu.
This is a simple yet healthy and delicious recipe, beneficial for both kids and adults alike. It’s a great way to take in all of sesame seeds benefits.
Here’s an easy step-by-step guide to making this sweet snack at home.
This recipe makes a super healthy, nutty and delicious sesame seed sweet called a laddu.
Serve this mouth-watering recipe as is for a snack, treat or dessert. Laddus can be stored for 4-5 hours.
Once they cool down completely store them in an airtight container. You can have one to two of these scrumptious nutritious sweet balls daily whenever you crave something sweet.
Once the mixture is shaped into round balls, you can immediately coat them with more sesame seeds. This will enhance their taste.
Do keep in mind not to overcook the sesame seeds during roasting as they can take on a bitter taste. While forming the balls, the mixture has to be hot, as it turns rigid when cool, making them difficult to bind.
1. API 2001: The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India PART 1 volume 4.
2. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India PART 1 volume 4.
3. Ambikadutta Shastri, Sushruta Samhita, Sutra sthana , chapter 46 verse 39-40. Chowkhambha Bharti Academy, 2006.
4. Kashinath Pandey, Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana chapter 27 verse 30, Chowkhambha Bharti Academy, 2005.
5. Ambikadutta Sashtri, Sushruta Samhita, Sutra sthana , chapter 46 verse 40. Chowkhambha Bharti Academy, 2006.
6. Shubhashree M.N, Dietetic and Therapeutic effect of Sesame in Ayurveda: A Critical Review, J.Pharma Science Innovation 2016;5(2).
7. Over 12 Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds and Sesame Oil Published on February 16, 2013, by http://truthisscary.com /author/admin/.
8. Ostlund RE Jr Phytosterols and cholesterol metabolism Curr Opin Lipidol. 2004 Feb;15(1):37-41.
9. Matsumura Y , Antihypertensive effect of sesamin. III. Protection against development and maintenance of hypertension in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biol Pharm Bull. 1998 May;21(5):469-73. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9635502
10. Kita S, Antihypertensive effect of sesamin. II. Protection against two-kidney, one-clip renal hypertension and cardiovascular hypertrophy. Biol Pharm Bull. 1995 Sep;18(9):1283-5.
11. Khan MM Sesamin attenuates behavioral, biochemical and histological alterations induced by reversible middle cerebral artery occlusion in the rats. Chem Biol Interact. 2010 Jan 5;183(1):255-63. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2009.10.003
12. Miyawaki TAntihypertensive effects of sesamin in humans J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2009 Feb;55(1):87-91.
13. Sankar D1, Ali A, Sambandam G, Rao R ,Sesame oil exhibits synergistic effect with anti-diabetic medication in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Clin Nutr. 2011 Jun;30(3):351-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2010.11.005. Epub 2010 Dec 16.
14. Anila L1, Vijayalakshmi NR, Beneficial effects of flavonoids from Sesamum indicum, Emblica Officinalis and Momordica charantia. Phytother Res. 2000 Dec;14(8):592-5.PMID: 11113993
15. Berthon G,Is copper pro- or anti-inflammatory? A reconciling view and a novel approach for the use of copper in the control of inflammation. Send to Agents Actions. 1993 Jul;39(3-4):210- 7
16. Nahar L1, Rokonuzzaman, Investigation of the analgesic and antioxidant activity from an ethanol extract of seeds of Sesamum indicum. Pak J Biol Sci. 2009 Apr 1;12(7):595-8.
17. Érika Maria Henriques Monteiro, Antinociceptive and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of the Sesame Oil and Sesamin, Nutrients. 2014 May; 6(5): 1931–1944.Published online 2014 May 12. doi: 10.3390/nu6051931PMCID: PMC4042560 PMID: 24824289.
18. Fu-Chou Cheng Neuroprotective Effects of Sesamin and Sesamolin on Gerbil Brain in Cerebral Ischemia Int J Biomed Sci. 2006 Sep; 2(3): 284–288.PMCID: PMC3614603 PMID: 23674992.
19. Kumar P1, Kalonia H, Kumar A. Sesamol attenuate 3-nitropropionic acid-induced Huntington-like behavioral, biochemical, and cellular alterations in rats. J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2009;11(5):439-50. doi: 10.1080/10286020902862194.
20. Mitsou Namiki, Nutraceutical Functions of Sesame: A Review Journal, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition Pages 651-673 | Published online: 16 Oct 2007.
21. WH, Sesame ingestion affects sex hormones, antioxidant status, and blood lipids in postmenopausal women. J Nutr. 2006 May;136(5):1270-5.
22. Jacklin A, The sesame seed oil constituent, sesamol, induces growth arrest and apoptosis of cancer and cardiovascular cells. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Dec;1010:374-80.
23. Smith DE, Selective growth inhibition of a human malignant melanoma cell line by sesame oil in vitro sesame seeds are a rich source of mammalian lignan precursors. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1992 Jun;46(2):145-50
24. Coulman KD. Whole sesame seed is as rich a source of mammalian lignan precursors as whole flaxseed. Nutr Cancer. 2005;52(2):156-65
25. Anagnostis A, Effects of a diet rich in sesame ( Sesamum indicum) pericarp on the expression of estrogen receptor alpha and estrogen receptor beta in rat prostate and uterus Br J Nutr. 2009 Sep;102(5):703-8. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509297194. Epub 2009 Mar 23.
26. Taisun H Hyun Zinc intakes and plasma concentrations in men with osteoporosis: the Rancho Bernardo Study The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 80, Issue 3, 1 September 2004, Pages 715–721.
27. PapiyaBigoniya,Preventive effect of sesame seed cake on hyperglycemia and obesity against high fructose-diet induced Type 2 diabetes in rats, Food Chemistry, Volume 133, Issue 4, 15 August 2012, Pages 1355-1361.
28. Nobuo Tsuruoka Modulating Effect of Sesamin, a Functional Lignan in Sesame Seeds, on the Transcription Levels of Lipid- and Al ohol-Metabolizing Enzymes in Rat Liver: A DNA Microarray Study Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 69:1, 179-188, DOI: 10.1271/bbb.69.179.
I believe eating sesame as rasayana, with my churna and milk anupan, is more helpful than oleating with ghee, or sesame oil. Sesame seed guarantees delivery of lechitin, and mineral in seed coat. Consumed raw, rather than roasted (tahini), guarantees oils are unrendered, and enzymes undestroyed… And so perhaps sprouted seeds are best. Don’t get me wrong, I use sesame oil in ears, eyes, massage…. But don’t pass up the dietary benefit of the seed.
Thank you for the article. Wonderful information!
I have come across another sesame seed recipe which uses dates for the sweet ball instead of gur. Gur is difficult to work with and in addition makes the sweetballs too sweet. You can hardly eat one of them. But dates make it very easy to form the balls and in addition you can’t stop eating them!
Comments will be approved before showing up.
The Ayurveda Experience
June 23, 2021
Thanks for sharing your ideas and you are welcome to do so. There are several ways of consuming sesame seeds and in the recipe given they are best used slightly roasted. there are some other recipes of sweet balls in which they are used raw as well.
The Ayurveda Experience