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Nutrition Column

The list of health imparting nutrients found in plants continues to grow

A nutrient found in sesame seeds proves effective for its blood pressure and lipid-lowering effects, antioxidant effects, and immunoregulatory actions.

Numerous phytonutrients (phyto = plant) have been linked to health and disease regression. Sesamin is the most abundant lignan found in sesame seeds and sesame oil that imparts and supports health. In addition, research suggests that sesamin had numerous disease fighting properties.

Lignans are antioxidants and phytoestrogens found in a variety of plants including berries, broccoli, flaxseed, soybeans, ... and sesame seeds and oil.

Studies have looked at a variety of diseases ranging from hypertension to heart disease and found benefits from sesamin intake including reduced LDL-, total-cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood pressure levels along with increased HDL-cholesterol, nitric oxide, and fatty acid oxidation levels. These changes improved disease markers for hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Other studies have linked sesamin to improved immune function and stroke reduction.

To gain the benefits from sesame seeds, and sesamin, think about adding them to your next stir-fry, using sesame oil in your cooking, or try choosing a sesame bagel the next time you visit a Starbucks or bagel shop.

Written by Dr. Sternlicht for on 12.02.05