Who would have thought that an itty-bitty food such as sesame seeds would be full of powerful disease-fighting phytonutrients? These tiny seeds have been used by many different cultures throughout the world. It appears that not very many people are aware of this powerful superfood. (1)
Sesame seeds are packed with antioxidants, especially vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble vitamin, as well as tocopheryl, reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, and fight inflammation. (1,2)
Black sesame seeds can significantly reduce blood pressure in men and women.
The Nutrition Journal documented pre-hypertensive 30 men and women approximately 50 years of age as to how dietary black sesame meal is correlated with blood pressure levels. Participant’s blood pressure levels were high, but not high enough to consider medication. (2,3)
Men and women’s blood pressures were evaluated before and after the study, which lasted 4 weeks. During the course of the 4 weeks, participants did not take any medications or other supplements. One group received a placebo, while the remaining group received 6 capsules of 420 mg of black sesame seed meal daily. (2,3)
Researchers found that the group treated with black sesame meal daily significantly reduced blood pressure. At the end of the 4 weeks, the average systolic blood pressure was 121 mm Hg, while the average blood pressure was 129 mm Hg for the placebo group. (3)
Researchers concluded, “The possible antihypertensive effects of black sesame meal on improving antioxidant status and decreasing oxidant stress. These data may imply a beneficial effect of black sesame meal on prevention of CVD.” (3)
Is there a difference between black and white sesame seeds?
It appears that white sesame seeds are the most common in America, so one may wonder if black and white sesame seeds provide similar benefits.
Back in 2005, a group of researchers compared the properties between black and white sesame seeds by testing the antioxidant capacity and the ability to inhibit LDL oxidation. (4) The results show that black sesame seeds far exceeded the white seeds. Based on the Trolox equivalent score, black seeds scored 65.9 and white scored only 4.4. (2,4)
This basically means that black sesame seeds have about 15 times antioxidant capacity than the white sesame seeds. However, for the LDL oxidation they were pretty similar. Black sesame seeds still scored higher at 96.7% versus white sesame seeds at 84.6%.
So, yeah, the next time you reach out for sesame seeds, aim for the black ones.
Image source: flic.kr