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Sesame Antioxidants

Sesame seeds are loaded with powerful antioxidants: IP-6 (AKA: Phytate; one of the most powerful antioxidants yet found, and one of the most potent natural anti-cancer substances. Especially abundant in grain and sesame.), lignans, sesamin, sesaminol, sesamolinol, sesamolin, pinoresinol, vitamin E, lecithin, myristic acid, and linoleate.

Lignans are fat-soluble antioxidants such as sesaminol, sesamolinol and sesamolin. They prevent free radical formation, and scavenge free radicals that have already formed. Black sesame seeds contain higher levels of antioxidants than brown.

Sesame Antioxidant Research

Even More Good Things Sesame Does

Sesame Prevents Sunburn, Skin Cancer

Dietary Tocotrienol Reduces UVB-Induced Skin Damage and Sesamin Enhances Tocotrienol Effects in Hairless Mice - Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology

Sesame Oil Heals Burns

Sesame oil burn ointment decreases pain, helps heal wounds. Moist exposed burn ointment (MEBO) contains sesame oil and herbal extracts. MEBO decreases pain better than conventional medical treatment, so that burn patients need fewer opiates. The sesame oil ointment controls infection as well as the conventional treatment does.
PubMed Sesame oil ointment helps heal chronic wounds, skin ulcers.
Unfortunately, it contains beeswax, so suffering is caused to bees. Anyway, here's the link. I have no financial relationship with them.
Sesame oil, used all by itself, has a reputation in Ayurveda as a burn treatment. It's a lot less expensive, easy to get, and no bees die.

Sesame Could Help Skin Cancer

Sesame inhibits growth of malignant melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.

Buying Sesame Seeds

There are three types of sesame seeds: Brown, black and white. White sesame seed is a refined food, similar to white rice. It starts out as whole brown sesame, then the outer bran layer is removed. Don't use it. Brown sesame seed has a milder flavor and less antioxidants than the black seeds. Black sesame seed has more antioxidants and a richer flavor. Black sesame has a reputation in both the Ayurveda and Chinese traditions as an anti-aging food. Find a natural food store or co-op that sells black or brown sesame seeds in bulk. Buying from the bulk bins saves you money, and reduces consumption of throwaway plastic packaging. The black seeds are best, brown is next best.

Sesame Products to Avoid

Tahini is a refined food, don't use it. It's made from ground peeled sesame seeds, the bran is missing. Sesame butter is made from ground whole brown sesame seeds It's a whole food, but not freshly made. Make your own sesame spread, fresh, by blending whole raw sesame seeds with water. If you do use sesame butter, be sure not to get the toasted kind.
Sesame oil is a refined food, don't use it. Beneficial substances are lost when oil is made: fiber, minerals, IP-6, etc.
Chinese sesame oil is dark because it's made from toasted sesame seeds, not because it's made from black sesame. It's also a refined food, like all oils. Use uncooked fresh whole foods instead.

Using Sesame Seeds

Grind the seeds fresh shortly before using them. You can dry grind them in a blender, on the 'Pulse' setting. It only takes a few seconds. If you hold the 'Pulse' button down for too long, the ground seeds will cake together. If you put too many seeds in at once, they may cake together. You can use a coffee grinder (but not one that's been used for coffee, the taste will get in the food). Hand-operated spice grinders are similar to a pepper grinder, but with a small glass jar on top. Mortar and pestle is a traditional low-tech tool for grinding and blending.

Sprinkle the ground seeds over cereals, vegetable dishes, or fruit. Sesame seeds can be blended with water, in a blender, food processor, or mortar and pestle. Depending on the amount of water, you can make a sauce, dressing, dip, pesto or spread. Adding spices or herbs, or using an apple or orange instead of water, can create many different flavors and textures.

How Much Sesame Should You Eat?

Most of your diet should consist of grains, vegetables and fruits. Seeds and nuts are a tasty addition, a color & flavor accent. Seeds and nuts should be used in amounts of spoonfuls, or handfuls, not cupfuls. They're too high-fat to be a main food. High-fat diets can decrease oxygen delivery by causing red blood cells to stick together (and cause other problems, too). Sesame probably can be used in greater amounts than most other high-fat foods though, due to it's unique ability to increase fat metabolism in the liver. Sesame is full of great stuff, and I hope to show on these pages that other common foods are too. © Jordan Rothstein <jordan at>