The Benefits of Black Sesame Seeds - a little fountain of youth

Black Sesame Seeds

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Copyright 2011 - Kris Heeter, Ph.D.

This article may not be reproduced, copied, or reprinted elsewhere online or offline without written consent of the author.


The first thought that comes to mind when one thinks of sesame seeds are little golden seeds. But, as with all plant life, there are always several varieties within a species that exhibit different genetic traits like color.

Sesame seeds can be: red, white, black, brown, and yellow. The color difference is based on the plant variety within the species, Sesamum indicum.

Noted health benefits of sesame seeds date back as early as 3000 B.C..

Ancient cultures utilized these seeds in a number of ways and they have been revered for centuries because of the belief that they promote energy and longevity.

Black sesame seeds have been used in traditional Chinese medicine and the traditional Ayurveda Indian medicine to address the underlying physical disturbances that lead to aging and premature gray hair.


The "fountain of youth" - what's the sesame's secret?

What makes sesame seeds, particularly black ones, so special in terms of energy and longevity?

Based on scientific research, Vitamin E has been shown to increase lifespan in mammals and promote healthy neurons. Sesame seeds contain tocopherols, the major "vitamers" of vitamin E.

Vitamin E, like many other vitamins, is not a single chemical but rather a collection of several chemical substances called "vitamers". Each vitamer within the vitamin has a different biological activity (aka "bioactivity").

Vitamers are believed to play an important role in the prevention of human aging-related diseases. Sesame seeds, contain a Vitamin E vitamer subclass called "gamma-tocopherol".

A research study out of the University of Hawaii Cancer Research Center found that the intake of moderate amounts of sesame seeds can significantly increase the levels of gamma-tocopherol levels in the blood. And, in combination with earlier studies, this suggests that there is an enhanced Vitamin E bioactivity and positive anti-aging role in the body after sesame seeds are digested.

With respect to black sesame seeds, it has been found that the brown pigment extracted from these seeds also contains increased antioxidant activity.

Antioxidants have been strongly linked to anti-aging, cancer prevention, and promoting heart health. In addition, research suggests that antioxidant properties can prevent the oxidation of cells that cause gray hair.

It should be noted that very high doses of Vitamin E can have the converse effect. Some studies suggest that Vitamin E, at high doses can be toxic to cells.

Additional Benefits and Ways to Use Sesame Seeds

In addition to being rich in Vitamin E, sesame seeds are a great source of calcium among other minerals.

These little guys are just one of several alternative sources of calcium for those allergic to dairy or for those that do like dairy products.

Sesame seeds can be used a variety of ways. Here's a sampling of ideas:

  • On salads
  • Mix with rice
  • Ground and add to soy milk or smoothies
  • Ground and make into a paste or dip for crackers and bread
  • Add to soups
  • Roasted on top of chicken
  • Bake in bread
  • In stir fry


Additional References:

Banks et al. (2010). Vitamin E supplementation and mammalian lifespan. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. May;54(5):719-25.

Halks-Miller et. al. (1981). Vitamin E-enriched lipoproteins increase longevity of neurons in vitro. 1981 Brain Research. Oct;254(3):439-47.

Xu et. al. (2005). Antioxidant activity of brown pigment and extracts from black sesame seed (Sesamum indicum L.). Food Chemistry. Vol 91: 1, Pages 79-83.

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Comments 19 comments

tsarnaudova profile image

tsarnaudova 5 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

Very interesting and informative, Kris, as ever.


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 5 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Well, I'm glad I just love black sesame seeds. Very cool. Great info.


Chefni profile image

Chefni 5 years ago from Pakistan

Very interesting indeed :)


cabmgmnt profile image

cabmgmnt 4 years ago from Northfield, MA

It always amazes me when I read about the different health benefits of food. By adding black sesame seeds to various recipes you can improve your vitamin E intake and improve your skin. Two great reasons why I will try black sesame seeds. Thanks.


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana Author

tsarnaudova, Chefni, and Frieda and Cabmgmnt - - thanks for stopping by!

cabmgmnt I agree, it is amazing how just basic foods like seeds have such amazing health benefits!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Kris, I love the flavour of sesame seeds but have never tried the black variety, I will look out for them.

Thank you for the information on the health benefits, I thought the hub and title was great! voting up.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

I have seen some chefs on TV use them and thought that it would be a great color contrast, but now knowing how much more healthful they are...will have to make it a point to get some in the house and start using them. Thanks! Up and useful votes.


Amber Allen profile image

Amber Allen 4 years ago

Hi Kris

I never knew that you could get different colored sesame seeds and you've certainly expanded my knowledge about vitamins as I'd no idea that they were made up of different vitamers.

Rated up and interesting as a great read.

Amber:)


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana Author

Amber - I hadn't realized there were different colors either until just recently. I ran across some in my local food co-op and have been adding them into salads now:) Thanks for stopping by!


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Hi Kris ~ Voted up again. I have a box of black sesame seeds I keep in the freezer and use to liven up an exotic dish of rice or stir fry veggies. It seems you would have to eat quite a lot of them to get the Vitamin E benefits. I have also noticed that some organic pressed seed and nut bars have them sprinkled in them, too. Blessings, Debby


lemonkerdz profile image

lemonkerdz 3 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

Interesting hub Kris, recently we have been looking into eating more healthy foods and black sesame seeds came up in conversation as being excellent especially for women. Basicaly anything in the natural food world that is dark purple, red black is great for women to eat due to the vitamins they contain. Great hub thanks


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 3 years ago from Indiana Author

@lemonkerdz - thanks for stopping by and enjoying eating those dark purple, red and black whole foods!


vibesites profile image

vibesites 3 years ago from United States

I love sesame seeds for my noodle soups and salads. But I've never heard and tried black sesame... will try to find that!

Anyway, is there a recommended or ideal amount of those black sesame seeds to achieve the "fountain of youth"?

Thanks for the post! Voted up and interesting. :)


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 3 years ago from Indiana Author

@vibesites - thanks for stopping by. There's no formal recommendation on the amount to eat to reach that fountain o youth but probably those in focused on in the study incorporate them into their diet a few times week in small amounts.


PaisleeGal profile image

PaisleeGal 3 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Good hub and valuable info. Never knew those little things were so good for us.

Thanks for the story! voted up & interesting !


lisasuniquevoice profile image

lisasuniquevoice 3 years ago from Michigan

Kris,

I never knew there were different colors of this seed, but I'm going to go out to the health food store and get some while I'm still young. Voted up and interesting.

Thanks,

Lisa


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 3 years ago from Indiana Author

@PaisleeGal and @lisasuniquievoice - thanks for stopping by ladies! I've really come to enjoy these and the black chia seeds I wrote about in another hub on my salads. They bring a little life to the salad and they are always a great conversational piece at a pitch-in:)


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

I have heard that black sesame seeds are helpful with elliminating grey hair. So I became interested in reading your hub.

You explained it better by saying hat it addresses the underlying physical disturbances that lead to premature gray hair. This does make it clearer -- that it may not be helpful once one already has grey hair. Did I interpret that correctly?

Nevertheless, I see that it's still useful for the health related benefits you mentioned. Great hub with lots of information. Voted up.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 22 months ago from Long Island, NY

Just read this hub again. I have a bottle of Black Sesame Seeds in my kitchen but I keep forgetting to use it. I bought it just for those health benefits you mentioned. You gave me many ideas now for its use, and I'm going to apply those suggestions. Who knows, maybe my grey hair will change back to brown! :-)

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