Eat More Sesame

I really like tahini, which is sesame butter. I’ll be eating it more often in the future.

Modern research has found that sesame seeds offer a broad range of health benefits. Sesame may be especially well suited to helping reduce the risk of heart disease, the leading killer of men and women in America today. Numerous biochemical processes can contribute to the pathogenesis of heart disease, including unfavorable lipid profiles, oxidative stress, elevated blood pressure, and reduced levels of protective antioxidants.

Sesame and its lignans—fibrous compounds that may act as antioxidants and influence hormone metabolism—may be valuable therapeutic tools in modulating cardiovascular risk through their numerous actions in the body. Sesame lignans have been found to enhance the anti-inflammatory effects of essential fatty acids, lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), block oxidative damage implicated in atherosclerosis, and reduce blood pressure. Sesame lignans can dramatically increase tissue and serum levels of the vitamin E fractions alpha tocopherol and gamma tocopherol, thereby enhancing their protective properties.3 Studies have shown that sesame can also reduce inflammatory processes known to promote cancer, senescence, and aging.

Sesame and its lignans boost antioxidant levels, reduce inflammation, normalize blood pressure, improve lipid levels, and promote fat burning. They act synergistically with other nutrients such as gamma tocopherol, fish oil, and conjugated linoleic acid, thereby enhancing the bioavailability and effectiveness of those nutrients. Through its many biochemical actions, sesame may help in managing some of today’s most pressing health concerns, including heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and inflammatory disorders.

Early research on vitamin E focused on alpha tocopherol, the form most commonly found in supplements. When scientists started examining other vitamin E fractions, one in particular—gamma tocopherol—was found to possess several unique properties. Although not as powerful an antioxidant as alpha tocopherol, gamma tocopherol was found to be the only vitamin E fraction capable of quenching reactive nitrogen oxide species such as peroxynitrite and nitrogen dioxide. Generated by inflammation, these dangerous free radicals are implicated in a host of degenerative diseases, including atherosclerosis, AIDS dementia complex, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. Re-searchers also discovered that gamma tocopherol and its water-soluble metabolite, gamma-CEHC, reduce inflammation by inhibiting prostaglandin E2 (PGE-2).

In addition to inhibiting chronic inflammation, gamma tocopherol exerts additional non-antioxidant effects to prevent cancer.

Summary

Sesame and its lignans have been shown to possess multiple health benefits, both alone and in synergistic combination with other compounds, including gamma tocopherol and fish oil. Sesame lignans help to increase tissue and serum levels of biological antioxidants that have been strongly correlated with improved health in mammals and humans.

Sesame lignans have also demonstrated anti-inflammatory benefits and block free radical lipid peroxidation in fish oil supplements to suppress inflammation. Lignans are powerful inhibitors of LDL oxidation, effectively reducing atherogenic processes. Lastly, lignans are potent stimulators of fatty acid oxidation, one of the key processes involved in weight control.

By influencing biochemical processes in the body, sesame and its lignans promise to help reduce risk for many of today’s most common diseases, including heart disease, obesity, and inflammatory disorders.

Source: Life Extension Magazine, February 2005 – Report: Do Your Antioxidants Suppress Enough Free Radicals?.