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Health On Life's Journey

The black sesame seed may be small, but it is a powerful food which the Chinese have learnt to use for many health-promoting and anti-aging benefits.

Learn about their health secrets, and find out ways to incorporate this little treasure in your daily meals.

The anti-aging powers of the black sesame

The Chinese believe that the nutrients in black sesame seeds can help to correct a bodily deficiency (in Ying and Xue of the Gan and Shen) brought about by aging, worrying and the toils of life, which in turn bring about aging-related symptoms like graying hair, blurry vision and ringing in the ears. As such, many Chinese consume black sesame seeds on a regular basis in the hope of delaying, or even reversing, some of these aging-related symptoms.

Is there any basis for the link between black sesame seed and anti-aging? Yes, at the very least, the seeds are rich in B vitamins and iron, which deficiencies can lead to the premature graying of hair, poor memory and hearing loss.

Black sesame for healthier skin and bones

Abundant in calcium and zinc, black sesame seeds can keep your bones strong and help you ward off osteoporosis. The seeds also provide the body with vitamin E, which is needed for healthy skin. These health benefits of the black sesame can keep you strong, and beautiful, even as you age.

The sesame key to good heart health

Sesame seeds are rich in substances known as sesamin and sesamolin, which can help lower your cholesterol levels. The seeds also contain magnesium, which help to reduce blood pressure. Healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels means healthier arteries and better heart health.

A protector against cancer

The sesamin found in sesame seeds is found to protect the liver against damages by free radicals in the body. Since your liver is crucial for your body’s detoxification process, protecting your liver also means protecting you against many diseases, including cancer. In addition, the seeds are rich in substances like fiber, lignans (antioxidants) and phytosterol (phytochemicals), which can help protect you against the development of various cancers, like colon cancer.

A relief for constipation and indigestion

The black sesame seed is a simple relief for constipation. The oil found in the seed can help lubricate your intestines, while the fiber in the seed provides the bulk needed for the smooth passage of your bowel-contents through your digestive system.

Other than constipation, the seeds are also useful for clearing up worms in your intestinal tract, as well as for improving digestion.

A lactation aid

If you are nursing your new born baby and wish to improve your breast-milk supply, the black sesame seeds can come in very handy. The Chinese have been using this seed as a lactating aid for their nursing mothers. Research show that the seed is loaded with nutrients, including proteins, unsaturated fats, B vitamins, copper, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium (especially when unhulled), as well as lignans (antioxidants).

How to consume your black sesame seeds

You can sprinkle these nutrient-rich seeds liberally over your cereals, rice, noodles or any other dishes at mealtime. You could even mix them with your yoghurt or smoothie for a rich nutty flavor.

Grounding the seeds or soaking them overnight can help make the seeds more digestible. The overnight soaking also aids in the absorption of calcium and other minerals from the seeds, as well as reduces the effects of the oxalic acid found in the seeds.

If however, you have the tendency for loose bowels or a history of kidney stones, you will need to be more conservative when consuming these seeds.

References
[1] Pitchford, Paul. Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. 3rd ed. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2002. Print.
[2] Trivieri, Jr., Larry, and Anderson, John W. Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. 2nd ed. New York, USA: Celestial Arts, 2002. Print.
[3] Murray, Michael, ND., Pizzorno, Joseph, ND., and Pizzorno, Lara, MA, LMT. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books, 2005. Print.
[4] http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=84


Cindy L. TJOL is trained in Psychology, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has several years of experience writing on natural health on the internet. Follow her on her blog and read her other articles at Insights On Health.com.