Superfood Spotlight: Black Sesame Seeds
by Vickie Chin on May 19, 2023
Throughout history, black sesame seeds have served a vital culinary and medicinal role.
Like many other superfoods, Asian cultures were some of the first to discover the powerful health benefits of black sesame seeds. Japan, China, and India in particular were tuned in to the culinary uses of these seeds, with China using black sesame seeds in the kitchen for more than 5,000 years.
The sesame plant itself is native to Indonesia — however, there is plenty of cultural evidence to show that not only were Asian cultures eating black sesame seeds but so were ancient Greek and Roman cultures.
Recipe Tip: Black Sesame Milk Recipe
Today, black sesame seeds continue to be a kitchen staple in Asian society.
When comparing the differences between black and white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds get their dark color from the hull around the seed. White sesame seeds have these hulls removed, which can ultimately strip the seeds of some of their nutritional value.
As a result, black sesame seeds' nutrition is widely thought to be more nutritionally dense than white ones.
In this article, we are talking all about black sesame seeds, including their nutritional content and the potential health benefits these seeds have to offer.
Keep reading to find out how to use black sesame seeds in your cooking and where to get them!
What are Black Sesame Seeds?
Black sesame seeds are a type of oily seed that comes from the fruit pods of the Sesamum plant.
From a nutritional standpoint, the health benefits of black sesame seeds pack a powerful punch — have a look at the macro and micronutrients these seeds have to offer:
- Protein: 3 to 5 grams per serving
- Healthy Fats: 10 to 13 grams per serving
- Carbohydrates: 4 to 6 grams per serving
- Calcium: 20% to 25% of your daily value
- Iron: 25% to 30% of your daily value
Recipe Tip: Healthy Keto Buns
Possible Allergies and Side Effects of Black Sesame Seeds
For people who have nut and seed allergies, it is important to be wary of black sesame seeds if you are trying them for the first time. The key to preventing a severe allergy attack is to know the early warning signs and when to call for help in the event of an allergic reaction.
Benefits of Black Sesame Seeds
Despite being small in size, black sesame seeds are incredibly healthy and packed with nutrients. When added to a balanced diet, black sesame seeds can be a tasty addition to all types of meals, snacks, smoothies, and more.
Here are seven great black sesame seeds benefits you should know about:
1. Promotes Heart Health
Along with the nutrients of iron and calcium, black sesame seeds also contain roughly 64 mg of magnesium — equivalent to around 16% of your daily value.
Magnesium (Mg) is an important nutrient for protecting your heart. A 2018 research review that looks at the health benefits of magnesium found that a higher Mg intake could lower the risk factor of several cardiovascular conditions, including:
- Metabolic syndrome
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
2. Improves Digestion
Another significant nutrient that can be found in black sesame seeds is dietary fiber.
Dietary fiber provides crucial support to your digestive system, helping to support and improve digestive health when eaten as part of a regular balanced diet.
A 2021 research review of dietary fiber found that there is “substantial evidence” to support the claim that dietary fiber can help to improve the metabolic health of people living with conditions such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, and chronic gut diseases.
Current recommendations for dietary fiber are to eat between 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day.
3. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Irregular blood sugar levels can cause hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) — both of which can have serious consequences if left unchecked.
The high value of protein and fats found in black sesame seeds compared to a relatively low value of carbohydrates makes these seeds an ideal food to help regulate your blood sugar.
One systemic review from 2021 found that sesame consumption helps to decrease glycemic indices, particularly in patients with diabetes. The review states that sesame seeds can be safe and effective as supplementary support to hyperglycemia treatments.
4. Protects Against Cancer
Black sesame seeds are rich in antioxidants — a type of substance that can play a variety of roles within your body, including preventing cellular damage that can result in cancer if left unchecked.
Since black sesame seeds are a more whole and less altered version of sesame seeds, they tend to be a rich source of antioxidants, with one 2016 study finding that black sesame seeds had the “maximum contents” of phenolics and lignans, as well as total oxygen radical absorbance capacity and antiproliferative activity.
Antioxidants found in black sesame seeds can also help to prevent oxidative stress, which can reduce your risk of not only cancer but also diabetes and heart disease.
5. Helps in Oxidative Stress Reduction
As mentioned above, black sesame seeds contain antioxidants that protect against oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is a result of an imbalance in the production and accumulation of oxygen-reactive species. This can ultimately lead to increased free radical production, which also increases your risk factor for health conditions like cancer.
In one study that investigated the effects of black sesame seed ethanol extract on the condition of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in mice, researchers found that this extract helped to protect against the effects of liver disease and other metabolic diseases.
6. Regulates Thyroid Function
Circling back to the nutrients found in black sesame seeds, another great nutrient that you can gain from these seeds is selenium, a key mineral in the production of thyroid hormones.
One serving of black sesame seeds contains around 18% of your daily value of selenium.
Along with helping to regulate your thyroid function and prevent the development of thyroid-related diseases, researchers have also found that selenium can play a positive role in the health conditions of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive decline.
7. Protects and Maintains the Skin
Sesame seeds have long been an ingredient used in hair and skin products.
The truth is, simply adding black sesame seeds to a regular balanced diet can help you receive the benefits these seeds offer to your hair and skin health.
Nutrients like iron and fatty acids — both of which are found in high concentrations in black sesame seeds — help to encourage healthier skin and hair. Additionally, when applied in oil form, sesame oil can help to protect your skin against sun damage as well.
How to Eat Black Sesame Seeds
Black sesame seeds can be eaten both raw and cooked, with toasted seeds offering a more richly nutty flavor. However, raw and organic black sesame seeds are generally thought to have the highest nutrient levels.
These seeds can make a great addition to a variety of dishes, including:
Black sesame seeds can also be ground up and added to many different recipes, including salad dressings, sauces, soups, smoothies, hummus, and other dips.
In general, the daily recommended serving of black sesame seeds is between one to two tablespoons.
Here is an example of a great recipe that includes black sesame seeds:
Sprouted Quinoa Summer Salad Recipe
This delicious summer salad is a great source of fiber and omega-3s. The ingredients you will need are:
- 1 cup sprouted quinoa
- 3 bell peppers
- 1 avocado
- 1 ripe mango
- Fresh basil and parsley
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 lemon or lime
- 1/4 tsp ginger extract
- Olive oil
- Yacon syrup
- Black sesame seeds
- Hemp hearts
- Raw cashews
- Pumpkin seeds
This recipe is designed for everyone and is dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and free of refined sugars. Check out the full Sprouted Quinoa Summer Salad recipe for preparation instructions!
To begin adding black sesame seeds to your daily diet, Organic Traditions has the product for you.
Our black sesame seeds come in 8-ounce or 16-ounce bags and contain high amounts of protein and healthy fats. Plus, our seeds are grown organically and are ethically sourced. Organic Traditions is committed to working with farmers that follow the principles of sustainable and fair trade agriculture.
Along with black sesame seeds, Organic Traditions also has an entire range of superfood supplements and products that can help you create a more nutritious and health-promoting diet. Our superfood products can provide a variety of health benefits, including:
- Digestive health
- Energy support
- Immune support
- Inflammation reduction
- Sleep and relaxation
Our superfood powders and seeds can easily be added to smoothies, soups, sauces, and other recipes to give your meals a powerful nutritional punch.
Check out the Organic Traditions online store today to find the superfood product that is right for you!