Why Eating Sesame Seed Paste (Tahini) Could Save Your Life

Why Eating Sesame Seed Paste (Tahini) Could Save Your Life | sesame_tahini_saves_the_heart | Natural Medicine

We don’t think of sesame seed paste as a ‘life saver,’ but new research shows it is capable of reducing blood markers of cardiovascular disease risk by 39% within only six weeks.

Sadly, in the Western world, when the average Joe thinks of protecting himself from heart disease, aspirin and statin drugs are often as high on the list – if not higher – than exercise and eating better. Through decades of intense marketing and miseducation millions have been made to think of the #1 killer as an inevitable force; one against which we fling pills and various pharmaceutical potions to ‘minimize risk,’ never to strike to the core of the problem and resolve it permanently.

This is one reason why natural medicine continues to gain popularity, as it is founded in more than a palliative approach to disease, and does not require the ingestion of patented chemicals (i.e. pharmaceuticals) whose side effects are often worse and far more plentiful than their claimed therapeutic ones. Instead of simply managing and/or suppressing symptoms, the goal is to invoke bodily self-healing, which is to say remove the interference that keeps it from doing so. And often, this is simply a matter of modifying the diet – adding something medicinal here, removing something not so healthy there.

One of the most promising studies to come through the biomedical pipeline of late was a gem published this month in the journal Archives of Iranian Medicine, and which looked at a traditional, sesame-based food-medicine known as Ardeh (aka tahini) for its ability to decrease cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetics – a group whose risk of cardiac mortality is greatly enhanced due to unhealthy ratios and quantities of blood lipids associated with chronically elevated blood sugar, glycation and insulin resistance.

Titled, “Ardeh (Sesamum indicum) Could Improve Serum Triglycerides and Atherogenic Lipid Parameters in Type 2 Diabetic Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial“,[i] the study consisted of 41 patients with type 2 diabetes, who were randomly assigned to one of the two groups: group A (Ardeh 28 g/d, n = 21) and group B (control, n = 20).  The patients in group A were given 28 grams (two tablespoons) of Ardeh with their breakfast, while group B patients continued with their regular breakfast, both for six months (the energy content of both groups was kept within the same range).

Both groups were evaluated at baseline and six weeks later for blood pressure, serum levels of total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), LDL-C, HDL-C, and the so-called atherogenic index (i.e. heart disease promoting index) of plasma (AIP; log TG/HDL-C), TC/HDL-C ratio, and LDL/HDL-C ratio .

Remarkably, after the six week test period, significant positive changes were reported:

“After six weeks, there were significant decreases in serum TG (15.3 mg/dL) and AIP (39 %) in group A. Moreover, slight decreases in serum TC, LDL-C, and other atherogenic lipid parameters and a mild increase in HDL-C also were observed during Ardeh supplementation. Anthropometric measures and blood pressure were unchanged during the study period in both groups.” [emphasis added]

Based on these promising observations the researchers concluded: “Ardeh could have favorable effects in decreasing CVD risk factors in type 2 diabetics.” Keep in mind that they found a 39% decrease in the so-called atherogenic index of plasma (AIP), which is no small effect for a relatively small dietary change. It should be noted that the brand of tahini used in this study (Oghab Halva Company) had no additional additives or oil. It was ground sesame seed, plain and simple. Were this a drug trial, results like these would be broadcast the world over as the next life-saving (multi-billion dollar selling) blockbuster drug. For a more detailed explanation of the results, read the entire study at the link here.

This is not the first human clinical study to find a beneficial effect of sesame on cardiovascular health or diabetes. Here are few others:

Sesame is truly a super star among medicinal foods.  In fact, recently, we reported on a study that found that eating 40 grams of sesame seeds, or the equivalent of two tablespoons of tahini, was superior to Tylenol in reducing pain in those suffering from knee arthritis. You can also take  a look at the over 40 health benefits of sesame seed and/or its components on our sesame seed health benefits research page to learn more about this remarkable healing food.

Let’s face it. At this point, with human clinical research from respected, peer-reviewed journals revealing that simple dietary changes – yes, as simple as eating some sesame paste (tahini) daily — can have huge impacts on risk factors for the most deadly and common diseases known in modern times, the time has come to reevaluate what exactly it is that is going on under the name of medicine today. Drugs don’t cure disease any more than bullets cure war. Foods, on the other hand, can be curative, and may just help us to put our ‘war against heart disease’ – like are failed ‘war on cancer’ —  to rest once and for all.

Finally, for a quick tahini recipe, take a look at this About.com how to, and consider super-charging the heart-friendly properties of this food with the addition of garlic, whose life-saving properties we have expanded on in another article.

[i] Parvin Mirmiran, Zahra Bahadoran, Mahdieh Golzarand, Asadolah Rajab, Fereidoun Azizi. Ardeh (Sesamum indicum) Could Improve Serum Triglycerides and Atherogenic Lipid Parameters in Type 2 Diabetic Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial.  Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2013 Apr;20(2):202-8. doi: 10.1177/2047487312437625. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

[ii] Kalliopi Karatzi, Kimon Stamatelopoulos, Maritta Lykka, Pigi Mantzouratou, Sofia Skalidi, Nikolaos Zakopoulos, Christos Papamichael, Labros S Sidossis. Sesame oil consumption exerts a beneficial effect on endothelial function in hypertensive men. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2012 Jan 25. Epub 2012 Jan 25. PMID: 22345690

[iii] Devarajan Sankar, Amanat Ali, Ganapathy Sambandam, Ramakrishna Rao. Sesame oil exhibits synergistic effect with anti-diabetic medication in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Clin Nutr. 2011 Jun ;30(3):351-8. Epub 2010 Dec 16. PMID: 21163558

[iv] D Sankar, M Ramakrishna Rao, G Sambandam, K V Pugalendi. A pilot study of open label sesame oil in hypertensive diabetics. J Med Food. 2006 Fall;9(3):408-12. PMID: 17004907

[v] D Sankar, M Ramakrishna Rao, G Sambandam, K V Pugalendi. Effect of sesame oil on diuretics or Beta-blockers in the modulation of blood pressure, anthropometry, lipid profile, and redox status. Yale J Biol Med. 2006 Mar;79(1):19-26. PMID: 17876372

© April 20, 2017 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.

Subscribe to The Sleuth Journal Newsletter for Daily Articles!


The post Why Eating Sesame Seed Paste (Tahini) Could Save Your Life appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.

Source: Alternative news journal

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Sesame May Eclipse Flaxseed As The Ultimate Healing Seed


Whereas flaxseed has been enjoying its “superstar” status in the nutritional world for quite some time, sesame is still rarely appreciated for its true healing power. All that is about to change…

The health benefits of flaxseeds have received a disproportionate amount of attention vis-à-vis other edible seeds in recent years, largely because they are one of the best sources of vegetarian omega-3 fatty acids known, but also because they are believed to contain the highest concentration of a  class of beneficial phytocompounds known as lignans. But what does the science actually say? While it probably shouldn’t be a competition, flaxseed literally lost a “peeing contest” with sesame seeds, the latter of which were found through urinary excretion biomarkers to produce even higher levels of the two most important mammalian lignans, namely, enterolactone (EL) and enterodiol (ED).

Many of our regular readers know that flaxseed is one of the most powerful healing foods in the human diet today. After all, we report on its amazing health benefits quite often. Indeed, the continual flow of new research on its health benefits is really quite amazing. There are now over 200 studies published each year on MEDLINE on their actual or potential health value, and over 3,000 studies have already been published on the topic.

Today, the GreenMedInfo.com database contains research on flaxseed’s value in over 70 diseases. To get a meta-view of that research, you can read our recently published article on the topic titled, “70 Reasons To Eat More Flaxseed.”


The GreenMedInfo.com Flaxseed Research Database

Most notably perhaps is the fact that flaxseed is one of only a few foods that has been clinically demonstrated to shrink breast tumors, as well as reduce breast cancer specific mortality. This is all the more amazing when you consider that every year millions of dollars are raised through cause-marketing campaigns to “find a cure” for breast cancer. And yet, billions of dollars later, no pharmaceutical preventive solution exists. For a list of hundreds of natural substances studied to prevent breast cancer, go to the GreenMedInfo.com database on the topic: Breast Cancer prevention research.

Flaxseed’s unique benefits aside, there are other amazing seeds that have not received nearly as much attention by the research community or press, even though they deserve it. One such seed, worthy of the name “super food,” is sesame.

Why Is Flaxseed Considered Superior To Other Seeds?

Why has flaxseed received disproportionately more attention than most others? The primary reason is that two reports, one from 1991, titled, Mammalian lignan production from various foods, and another from 1998, titled, “Phytoestrogen content of foods,” found that flaxseed is the richest source of mammalian lignan precursors, with levels 100-800 times higher concentrations than any other plant food tested. This has lead to the oft-repeated claim that flaxseed’s lignan content makes it superior to all other plant foods, including sesame. This, however, is not true.

An important study on the topic, published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer in 2005 and titled, “Whole Sesame Seed Is as Rich a Source of Mammalian Lignan Precursors as Whole Flaxseed,” compared sesame seed with flaxseed in postmenopausal women.

Briefly, what makes flaxseed so therapeutic for hormone sensitive cancers like breast, ovary, and prostate cancer, is that it contains a type of polyphenolic phytocompound known as lignan, which is a co-passenger with fiber. Following consumption, a portion of these lignans are converted via gut microflora into metabolic byproducts known as “mammalian lignans,” namely, enterolactone (ED) and enterodiol (EL).  These lignans have been studied to have anti-cancer properties, and are believed to interact selectively with estrogen receptors on cells, resulting in beneficial health effects.


click to view the full PDF

In the 2005 study, researchers set out to determine the level at which these mammalian lignans are produced from precursors in foods bars containing 25 grams of unground flaxseed, sesame seed, or their combination.

The study was a randomized, crossover, wherein 16 healthy postmenopausal women supplemented their diets with the bars for 4 wk each separated by 4-wk washout periods, and urinary mammalian lignan excretion was measured at baseline and after 4 wk as a marker of mammalian lignan production.

The results of the study proved that sesame seed provides about an equally abundant source of lignan as flaxseed, as reflected by the urinary excretion of mammalin lignans. In fact, the authors noted that technically sesame contains more lignan than flaxseed:

“It was thus surprising that SB [sesame] consumption resulted in a greater, albeit not significantly greater, increase in urinary lignans than FB [flaxseed].”

The summarized their results:

This study demonstrated for the first time that, in postmenopausal women, 1) plant lignans in unground whole flaxseed, sesame seed, and their combination, in the bar formulation, are converted by the bacterial flora in the colon to mammalian lignans, as indicated by the significantly large increase in urinary excretion of ED and EL; 2) large amounts

of urinary ED and EL are produced from sesame seed-containing bars, as much as that produced with flaxseed, indicating the presence of large amounts of mammalian lignan pre cursors; and 3) sesame plant lignans are converted as well to another compound, which is excreted in the urine.”

Another interesting finding was that the combination of flaxseed and sesame was not superior, as would be expected, in producing mammalian lignans when compared to flaxseed or sesame alone:

When sesame seed was combined with flaxseed, the conversion of SECO and other precursors in flaxseed to ED and EL was lower than what was expected from the conversion seen with sesame seed or flaxseed alone.”

The researchers theorized that this may have resulted from phytocompounds in one seed suppressing the conversion of lignan to mammalian lignans in another.

Ultimately, the study proved something that has still not seeped into the popular consciousness, and which marketing copy and even professional educators have yet adjusted their data to accommodate, namely:

Because the mammalian lignan production with sesame seed, alone or in combination with flaxseed, was equivalent to that from flaxseed, sesame seed may be used as an alternative to flaxseed as a very rich source of mammalian lignan precursors. The large amount of mammalian lignans produced with sesame seed, reported for the first time here, suggests that they should also be examined for their potential role on some of the reported beneficial effects of sesame seed and its major lignans” [emphasis added]

The Power of Sesame Revealed

Now that we have established sesame on the same footing as flaxseed, both in terms of lignan content, and their convertibility to the mammalian lignans ED and EL, it will be helpful to look at a 2012 study, which also confirmed one dimension of their therapeutic effects to be equivalent. Published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, and titled,”Comparative effects of sesame seed lignan and flaxseed lignan in reducing the growth of human breast tumors (MCF-7) at high levels of circulating estrogen in athymic mice,” researchers found that breast tumor prone mice fed for 8 weeks, either flaxseed lignan (SDG) or sesame lignan (SES), both resulted in the reduction of tumor cell proliferation and the reduction in tumor size by 23% compared to the control. The researchers found that sesame lignan was more effective than flaxseed lignan in reducing breast tumor growth. One explanation is that sesame lignan was found to be a better inducer of programmed cell death (apoptosis) in breast cancer cells than flaxseed lignan.

Hopefully, we have established that sesame not only contains at least as much beneficial lignan as flaxseed, but that research (albeit preliminary) also shows these sesame lignans are also powerful anti-cancer agents, and that we can expect many of the clinically confirmed health benefits attributed to flaxseed may also be attributable to sesame seeds.

Ultimately, however, this comparative approach may distract from the wealth of health benefits already identified for sesame and its components in the biomedical literature. Sesame, like flaxseed, is backed up by literally thousands of published studies. You can do a pubmed.gov search of the MEDLINE database and will find almost 3,000 studies available to look through. Our GreenMedInfo.com database on sesame, in fact, lists 90 potential health benefits of this amazing seed.

The GreenMedInfo.com Sesame Research Database

We’ve reported previously on a few human studies with very promising results. Here are a few worth perusing:

Over and over again, in the published research itself, we are finding that simple foods, many of which we have never paid much attention to, contain powerful, if not life-saving health benefits. Not only are we learning that Hippocrates was right when he said that “food is medicine,” but that even better, if we can start incorporating these powerful substances into our daily diet, in even small, culinary doses, not only will they nourish us deeply, but we won’t need to use heroic doses of spices or foods later on, after a serious illness has taken hold. In other words, food isn’t so much medicine, as that which prevents us ever needing medicine in the first place.

Nutritional Facts and How To Take Sesame

If you would like to learn more about the nutritional benefits of sesame, you can visit NutritionData.coms in depth analysis. You will find there that sesame seed is actually a significant source of protein: about 20% by weight. It is also a rich source of plant-based calcium, providing 9% of the RDA, and which is far superior to the many inorganic forms of calcium that predominant out there because it is highly unlikely to contribute to soft tissue, or so-called ectopic calcification. It is also surprising to find that it is a significant source of iron, providing 53% of the RDA in a 150 gram serving (roughly 5 ounces).


NutritionData.com sesame page

Sesame seeds rarely come up in typical Western dietary patterns, beyond its almost ornamental usage on hamburger buns. Some savor the taste of its roasted oil — a form which would not contain as much lignan (because it is a fiber co-passenger) and which would have far less antioxidant activity due to roasting. But have you ever considered adding it to your cereal, salads, or smoothies? It does not take much to benefit from this lignan content when used this way. Just a teaspoon a day is enough to have a significant impact.

Here are a few other ways to use sesame:

Sesame Milk Recipe


1 cup of sesame seeds

2 cups of water


  1. Soak 1 cup of sesame seeds in 2 cups of water overnight In the morning, blend the water and seeds until smooth
  2. Chill and drink (to retain the fiber) or strain the mixture using a cheesecloth then serve

Lemon-Tahini Salad Dressing


¼ cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons tahini

1 tsp honey

1 small clove garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Whisk together and serve with greens or drizzle over cooked or raw  vegetables like green beans and broccoli.

Source for recipes: Blog.foodnetwork.com

For additional research on sesame health benefits, read our article Open Sesame! 10 Amazing Health Benefits of this Super-Seed

The post Sesame May Eclipse Flaxseed As The Ultimate Healing Seed appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.

Source: Alternative news journal

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS