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Sesame, an elixir of longevity enclosed in a seed

September 26, 2021
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Sesame, an elixir of longevity enclosed in a seed

Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, neuroprotective and anticancer properties, sesame improves memory and learning, also counteracts back and joint pain, protects the skin from UV rays, stimulates wound healing and strengthens bones

According to scholars, the manuscript dating from the third century BC, was written in three volumes that contained the millenary Chinese wisdom. Oral traditions, medical arts and natural remedies were included in this book, the Shennong Ben Cao Jing. We no longer have any trace of the original manuscript but other works have come to us which have taken up its contents. One section in particular is of considerable interest. In fact, at a certain point in the manuscript commonly used foods are listed that, due to their precious properties, should never be missing in the daily diet. Well, among these foods sesame seeds stand out, considered a true elixir of longevity. And in this case the tradition was right, as centuries later science with sophisticated equipment was able to prove. Today we talk about what sesame can do for our health and why it may be a good idea to add sesame to yogurt, bread and biscuit preparations or sauces.

Sesame, properties and nutrients

Sesame is a source of proteins, vitamins, such as vitamin E and vitamin B1, fiber, unsaturated fatty acids but also phosphorus, iron, magnesium, calcium, manganese, copper and zinc (Pathak et al , Pharmacogn Rev., 2014). Sesame, like the oil obtained from its seeds, shows valuable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and antitumor properties thanks to the presence of substances, such as tocopherol and lignans (Andargie et al, Molecules, 2021).

Sesame, neuroprotective action

Sesame oil has shown a neuroprotective action thanks to three mechanisms of action. First of all, sesame oil helps to extinguish inflammation and, as emerges from very recent scientific research, it is precisely neuroinflammation, if in the presence of accumulations of beta amyloid proteins in the brain, the fuse that can cause degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's (Mohamed et al, J Ethnopharmacol, 2021 - Pascoal et al, Nature Medicine, 2021). Not only that, sesame oil is also an antioxidant and counteracts oxidative stress, the antechamber of the accumulation of beta amyloid proteins in the brain. Finally, sesame oil also shows to improve cognitive function, strengthening memory and learning ability (Mohamed et al, J Ethnopharmacol, 2021).

Sesame and heart

Sesame and its oil have cholesterol-lowering properties. In fact, it was observed that the intake of 5 tablespoons of sesame seeds a day for two months reduced bad cholesterol by 10% and triglycerides by 8% (Alipoor et al, Int J Food Sci Nutr, 2012).

Moreover, in addition to acting by reducing cholesterol, sesame is also anti-inflammatory and this contributes to reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (Hsu et al, Cureus, 2017). Not only that, the intake of sesame has also been shown to improve the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of blood vessels and the heart. In fact, 35 grams of sesame oil every day are enough to improve the endothelium's ability to adapt to blood flow, making blood vessels less rigid, even in the presence of hypertension (Kalliopi et al, Eur J Prev Cardiol, 2013).

Sesame and bones

Sesame, thanks to its content in sesamine, which belongs to lignin family, has been shown to protect the bone structure by preventing the loss of bone mass and the onset of osteoporosis (Ma et al, Med Sci Monit, 2019). From studies it seems that the mechanism of action of sesame is due to its ability to counteract inflammation. In fact, by preventing bone inflammation it is possible to prevent bone resorption and instead increase the formation of bone tissue (Yasmeen et al, Food Sci Nutr, 2020).

Sesame and skin

Sesame oil, if applied locally on wounds, has been shown to accelerate the healing processes thanks to its healing and antimicrobial action and its ability to stimulate the synthesis of collagen and elastin (Andargie et al, Molecules , 2021). Not only that, sesame oil is anti-aging, protects the skin from the damage of photoaging and helps to recreate the skin's protective film when altered (Lin et al, Int J Mol Sci, 2018). For this reason, sesame oil is added to face products. You can also include it in your DIY creams or micellar water, according to the recipe you find in the video blog section.

Sesame against pain

Massages performed with sesame oil have been shown to reduce pain in case of back pain and joint pain. This is due to the anti-inflammatory action of sesame (Lin et al, Int J Mol Sci, 2018).

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