Nutrition Is Sesame the Next Mainstream “Superfood”?

Sesame – high in fat and fiber, low glycemic index, strong profile of vitamins and minerals – next superfood?

is sesame the next superfood?

After spending two weeks in Japan in January and three months across Southeast Asia since February, I’ve spent the majority of 2018 in Asia. With Sesame Ramen in Japan and Thai Sesame Noodles in Thailand, it has been hard to avoid. In fact, I even found delicious sesame snack bars in Seven Eleven in Thailand… Think granola bars made out of sesame.

Being the health conscious individual that I am, I did some research on the nutritional information of these seeds. High fat, high fiber, low glycemic index, and a strong profile of vitamins and minerals. Which got me thinking, is sesame the next mainstream superfood?

Superfood Explained

Superfoods don’t have their own food group per se so the superfood classification is a bit subjective. To elicit an objective argument, let’s first try to define what a superfood actually is.

A superfood is a nutritionally dense and nutritionally diverse food considered to be beneficial to health and wellbeing. Superfoods are typically naturally sourced foods such as blueberries, avocado, salmon, quinoa, chia, almonds, and pistachios.
The most popular superfoods we think of today provide the following benefits:
  1. Rich in vitamins and minerals
  2. Healthy fats*: polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6), monounsaturated fats
  3. Antioxidants
  4. Anti-inflammatory
  5. High fiber
  6. Low glycemic index

Sesame As A Superfood

Now that we have a general definition of what a “superfood” is, it’s time to focus on the seeds!
Below is a screenshot of the nutrition facts from a quick Google search. A serving size is probably closer to 50g and the chart below is for 100g. So, I’m just going to divide everything by 2 for argument’s sake.
Sesame nutrition facts- is it the next superfood?
Now let’s break that down into the “superfood” categories defined above.

1.Rich in vitamins and minerals: Yup!

  • Calcium: ~500mg per 50g serving. That’s close to 2x the amount of Calcium in 1 glass of milk!
  • Iron: ~7mg per 50g serving
  • Vitamin B-6: 20% of your daily recommended value per 50g of seeds
  • Magnesium: ~175mg per 50g serving
  • Copper: 2mg per 50g serving
  • Manganese: 2.2mg per 50g serving
  • Potassium: ~250mg per 50g serving. That’s 50% of the potassium of a banana!

2. Healthy fats: most definitely!

  • Polyunsaturated Fat: ~11g per serving
  • Monounsaturated Fat: ~10g per serving

3. Antioxidants: of course!

  • Phytate
  • Sesamin
  • Sesaminol
  • Vitamin E

4. Anti-inflammatory: affirmative!

  • The copper mentioned above is an important anti-inflammatory for the body

5. High fiber: oh yeah!

  • A 50g serving of these seeds will provide ~25% of your daily recommended value of fiber

6. Low glycemic index: next question!

  • Sesame’s Glycemic Index is 15! The same as tomatoes and eggplant
  • Anything below 55 is considered low, so 15 is incredible!

But that’s only the beginning! Its’ seeds provide value beyond dietary benefits. It can be used as an antioxidant face wash and skin moisturizer. Moreover, the combination of vitamin-E and linoleic acid provide hair, scalp, and dandruff benefits!

As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised to see sesame products popping up all over the place in the next few years. I reckon it will be similar to the explosion in coconut-based products in recent years. Hence, the possibilities are endless:
  • Artisan sesame based cooking oils
  • Adding tahini to your eggs
  • Granola bars with sesame
  • Sesame sprouted bread
  • Sesame milk

Moreover, did I mention sesame is vegan, ketogenic, and gluten-free?!

Anyone know how I can invest in sesame? (ha-ha)

P.S. Remember, sesame seeds will not make your bagel or hamburger bun “healthy”
P.P.S. There were a lot of lists in this post which reminded me of the importance of the Oxford comma. Gotta have consistency in your punctuation so you need that Oxford comma. Just ask the lawyer that wrote the contract for a Maine dairy company and cost them $5 million because they forgot an Oxford Comma

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