White Sesame Seeds
Sesame is a flowering plant in the genus Sesamum. Numerous wild relatives occur in Africa and a smaller number in India. It is widely naturalized in tropical regions around the world and is cultivated for its edible seeds, which grow in pods.
Sesame seed is one of the oldest oilseed crops known, domesticated well over 3000 years ago. It was a major summer crop in the Middle East for thousands of years, as attested to by the discovery of many ancient presses for sesame oil in the region. Sesame is drought-tolerant and is able to grow where other crops fail.
Sesame has one of the highest oil contents of any seed. With a rich nutty flavor, it is a common ingredient in cuisines across the world. Like other nuts and foods, it can trigger allergic reactions in some people.
See also Black Sesame Seeds and Brown Sesame Seeds
and Yellow Sesame
Health Benefits of White Sesame Seeds
1. Sesame oil improved the effectiveness of the oral antidiabetic drug glibenclamide in type 2 diabetic patients. sesame seed oil as the sole edible oil lowers blood pressure and glucose in hypertensive diabetics.
2. Sesame seed oil has a beneficial effect in hypertensive patients on either diuretics or beta-blockers. Substitution of all dietary oils with sesame oil brought down systolic and dystolic blood pressure to normal, in addition to decreasing lipid peroxidation and antioxidant status.
3. Sesame seed oil has been used for oral health for thousands of years in the traditional Indian medical tradition known as Ayurveda in a process known as "oil pulling." It involves swishing sesame seed oil in the mouth for prolonged durations and has been said to prevent teeth decay, halitosis, bleeding gums, dry throat, and for strengthening the teeth, gums and jaw.
Massaging infants with sesame oil improved both their growth and post-massage sleep, in comparison to control oils such as mineral oil.
4. Sesame seed oil protects mice from developing the disease by reducing IFN-gamma secretion, a key factor in initiating autoimmune inflammation and injury in the nervous system.
5. Sesame seed oil protects against gentamicin-induced kidney damage in rats by reducing oxidative damage caused by the antibiotic.
6. Sesame seed oil prevents the formation of atherosclerotic lesions in mice fed an atherogenic diet. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory lignan found within sesame seeds known as sesamol has been identified to be partially responsible for its anti-atherogenic properties. In fact, sesamol has been shown to possess over two dozen beneficial pharmacologically active properties, many of which may contribute to improving cardiovascular health.
7. The sesame lignin sesamol was shown to exert an antidepressant-like effect in behavioral despair in chronically stressed mice, specifically by modulating oxidative-nitrosative stress and inflammation.
8. Sesamol has been shown to protect against gamma radiation-induced DNA damage, likely through its antioxidant properties. It is capable of reducing mortality in radiation treated mice, in part through preventing intestinal and spleen damage. When compared to another powerful antioxidant, melatonin, it was found 20 times more effective as a free radical scavenger.
9. Sesame contains a fat-soluble lignin with phytoestrogenic properties known as sesamin, and which has been studied for inhibiting the proliferation of a wide range of cancer cells.
10. Sesame deserves to be recognized, along with garlic, honey, turmeric and a select few other substances, as an easily accessible and affordable food-medicine that, if consumed regularly, could quite possibly save lives.
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