Sesame: Proven benefits and virtues

Sesame: Proven benefits and virtues

The sesame could well be the oldest plant on the planet to have been used for the nutrient potential of its seeds and the many properties of its oil.

Scientific name: Sesamum indicum

Common names: sesame, benne, beni

Botanical classification: pedaliaceae family (Pedaliaceae)

Forms and preparations: seeds, oil, butter, cream

Medicinal properties of sesame


Antioxidant effect: acts against cellular aging. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect: joint pain and rheumatism, neuralgia. Cholesterol-lowering effect: management of hypocholesterolemia. Helps reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Emollient effect: constipation. Facilitates the proper functioning of the liver, heart, brain and nervous system. Stimulates memory and intellectual activity. Detoxifies the liver, thanks to the methionine it contains.


Skin disorders: soften dehydrated or irritated skin, soften the skin, calm the itching. Antioxidant effect: effective anti-wrinkle. It nourishes and beautifies the nails and hair. Treats dandruff. Sesame oil is ideal for massage.


Point constipation, dermatological problems, articular and rheumatic pains, dermatological problems (itching).


Prevention of cardiovascular diseases due to its antioxidant (in sesamol) and cholesterol-lowering properties. Stimulates the memory. The lignans and phytosterols contained in the sesame contribute to the management of hypercholesterolemia and the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. The presence of methionine helps to detoxify the liver.

Sesame: Active ingredients and properties

Antioxidants . Antioxidants are compounds that protect the body's cells from damage caused by free radicals . The latter are highly reactive molecules that would be involved in the development of cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and other diseases related to aging.

  • Vitamin E. Sesame contains tocopherols, antioxidant compounds that can form vitamin E. The main tocopherol of sesame is gamma-tocopherol (381 μg / gram) while it contains little alpha-tocopherol (7 μg / gram ) 2 . Human studies have demonstrated that by adding sesame to the daily feed in the form of seeds (11 g per day), oil (at least 22.5 g) or powder (50 g), Blood concentration of gamma-tocopherol was increased. Epidemiological studies suggest that in addition to antioxidant properties, gamma-tocopherol may play a role in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Further clinical studies in humans are necessary before asserting it with certainty.
  • Lignans. Sesame seed is one of the foods that contains most lignans, plant compounds playing a role similar to that of estrogen;This is why they are also called phytoestrogens. Sesame lignans, even when the latter is not ground, are absorbed and converted into the human body as efficiently as linseed lignans. Sesamin is one of the main sesame lignans: each gram of seed contains about 2,240 μg. In addition to having antioxidant properties, sesame lignans could have other benefits. In hypercholesterolemic individuals (with high blood cholesterol), sesamin consumption decreased some blood lipids such as total cholesterol and LDL ("bad" cholesterol). Other clinical studies in patients with sesame oil-consuming hypertension and in postmenopausal women consuming sesame seed powder have reported a decrease in blood pressure and blood lipids. The authors of this research attribute their results at least in part to sesamin. 

    Interaction between sesame lignans and vitamin E compounds. In humans, consumption of sesame seeds resulted in a more marked increase in gamma-tocopherol blood concentration compared to other foods with the same amount Of gamma-tocopherol (soybean oil, hazelnuts). In animals, sesame seeds have been shown to increase not only the tocopherol blood levels but also tocotrienols (other vitamin E compounds) in some tissues. Researchers believe that this increase in tocopherols and tocotrienols may be attributable to the presence of sesame lignans, as their consumption in animals and humans would decrease the degradation and urinary excretion of gamma-tocopherol. Finally, another study in animals has shown that sesamin can interact synergistically with alpha-tocopherol to produce an antioxidant effect. Overall, this interaction could potentially be beneficial by promoting the maintenance of vitamin E compound concentrations in the body, thus enabling them to benefit more from their benefits.

Phytosterols. Sesame seed is one of the most phytosterol-containing foods, with 400 mg per serving of 100 g (about 148 mg per 37 g or 60 mL). These compounds have a structure similar to that of cholesterol in animal products, but are beneficial to cardiovascularhealth . A meta-analysis of 41 clinical trials demonstrated that taking 2 g daily (2,000 mg) of phytosterols reduced LDL-cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) by 10%. This reduction could reach 20% in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol 24 . This amount of 2 g per day is virtually impossible to achieve by diet alone. However, naturally occurring phytosterols in foods remain attractive for cardiovascular health. In Canada, since May 2010, the addition of phytosterols has been permitted in spreads, margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressings, yogurt and fruit and vegetable juices.

Sesame: Most Important Nutrients

See the meaning of the classification symbols of nutrient sources

Calcium. The whole sesame seed (not dehulled) is an excellent source of calcium. Calcium is by far the most abundant mineral in the body. It is mostly stored in the bones, of which it is an integral part. It helps in the formation of bones and teeth, as well as in maintaining their health. Calcium also plays an essential role in blood clotting, maintaining blood pressure and muscle contraction (including the heart).

Phosphorus. Sesame seed is an excellent source of phosphorus (see our Factsheet Phosphorus Nutrients ). Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. It plays an essential role in the formation and maintenance of bone and teeth health. In addition, it contributes to the growth and regeneration of tissues and helps maintain normal blood pH . Finally, phosphorus is one of the constituents of cell membranes.

Magnesium. The whole sesame seed is an excellent source of magnesium. Magnesium contributes to bone development, protein construction, enzymatic actions, muscle contraction, dental health and immune system function. It also plays a role in the metabolism of energy and in the transmission of nerve impulses.

Iron. The whole sesame seed is an excellent source of iron. Each cell in the body contains iron. This mineral is essential for the transport of oxygen and the formation of red blood cells. It also plays a role in the manufacture of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses). It should be noted that iron contained in foods of plant origin is less absorbed by the body than iron from animal foods. However, absorption of iron from plants is favored when consumed with certain nutrients, such as vitamin C.

Zinc. Sesame seed is an excellent source of zinc. Roasted and toasted sesame seed is an excellent source for women and a good source for humans , their needs being different. Zinc plays an important role in immune responses, in the manufacture of genetic material, in the perception of taste, in the healing of wounds and in the development of the fetus. It also interacts with the sex and thyroid hormones. In the pancreas, he participates in the synthesis (manufacture), the storage and the release of the insulin.

Manganese. The whole sesame seed is an excellent source of manganese. Manganese acts as a cofactor of several enzymesthat facilitate a dozen different metabolic processes. It also helps prevent the damage caused by free radicals .

Copper. The whole sesame seed is an excellent source of copper. As a constituent of several enzymes, copper is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (a protein used for tissue structure and repair) in the body. Several enzymes containing copper also contribute to the body's defense against free radicals.

Vitamin B1. Roasted and grilled sesame seed is an excellent source of vitamin B1. Dehydrated sesame seed is an excellent source for women and a good source for humans , their needs being different. Also called thiamine , vitamin B1 is part of a coenzyme needed to produce energy primarily from the carbohydrates we ingest. It also participates in the transmission of nerve impulses and promotes normal growth.

Vitamin B6. Sesame seed is a good source of vitamin B6. Also known as pyridoxine , vitamin B6 is a part of coenzymes that contribute to the metabolism of proteins and fatty acids and to the synthesis (manufacture) of neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses). She also collaborates in the manufacture of red blood cells and allows them to carry more oxygen. Pyridoxine is also necessary for the transformation of glycogen into glucose and contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system. This vitamin finally plays a role in the formation of certain components of nerve cells and in the modulation of hormone receptors.

Vitamin B2 . Sesame seed is a source of vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin. Like vitamin B1, it plays a role in the energy metabolism of all cells. It also contributes to the growth and repair of tissues, the production of hormones and the formation of red blood cells.

Vitamin B3 . Sesame seed is a source of vitamin B3. Also known as niacin, vitamin B3 contributes to many metabolic reactions and contributes particularly to energy production from the carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and alcohol we ingest. It also participates in the process of DNA formation, allowing for normal growth and development.

Folate . Sesame seed is a source of folate. Folate (vitamin B9) participates in the manufacture of all the cells of the body, including red blood cells. This vitamin plays an essential role in the production of genetic material (DNA, RNA), in the functioning of the nervous system and the immune system, as well as in the healing of wounds and wounds. As it is necessary for the production of new cells, adequate consumption is essential during periods of growth and for the development of the fetus.

What is a "portion" of sesame worth?

Weight / volume

Dehydrated whole sesame seeds, 37 g (60 mL - 4 tbsp)

Whole sesame seeds, roasted and roasted, 38 g (60 ml)





6.5 g

6.5 g


8.6 g

9.8 g


18.1 g

18.3 g


2.5 g

2.6 g


6.9 g

6.9 g


8.0 g

8.0 g

-Omega 3*

0.1 g

0.1 g


0 mg

0 mg

Dietary fiber

4.3 g

5.3 g

Source : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File , 2005. 
* AEP, ADH and alpha-linolenic acid

Is sesame calcium well absorbed by the body?

Although whole sesame contains a large amount of calcium, researchers have observed in humans that its bioavailability (its ability to be absorbed and used by the body) seems rather low.

Sesame: a high source of fiber!

With 4.3 g of fiber per 60 ml of whole dehydrated seed and 5.3 g per 60 ml of roasted seed, sesame is considered a high source of dietary fiber. Fibers, which are found only in plants, contain a group of substances that are not digested by the body. A high fiber diet is associated with a lower risk of colon cancer and can help satisfy the appetite by bringing a sense of satiety more quickly. There are two main types of fiber (soluble and insoluble) that have different beneficial effects in the body: sesame contains both, but with a higher proportion of insoluble fiber (60%).

Insoluble fiber is attributed the ability to prevent constipation by increasing stool volume. Soluble fibers, on the other hand, can contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases by reducing in particular the absorption of bile acids. They can also help control type 2 diabetes by, among other things, slowing the digestion of food glucose. It is recommended to consume 25 g of total fiber per day for women aged 19 to 50 years and 38 g per day for men in the same age group.


Allergy to sesame 
Sesame is one of the nine most common allergens in Canada, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. In France, sesame allergy affects 4.4% of adults with food allergies. Symptoms of allergy can be cutaneous, digestive or respiratory; In severe cases, the reaction may reach anaphylactic shock. People allergic to sesame should avoid all foods and products containing sesame, including any product whose ingredient list indicates that it "may contain" sesame. To ensure this, it is essential to read the label carefully. Other terms may be used to indicate the presence of sesame: seeds, beni, vegetable oil, sesamole, sesamum indicum, tahini, etc. It is also best for people with allergies to avoid products that do not have a list of ingredients.

Posted on 06/29/2017 Benefits and virtues of herbs 0 856

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