If you're looking to add a dramatic flare to your next stir-fry, throw some black sesame seeds into the pan. Unlike the more familiar white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds are unhulled and have a bolder flavor and aroma. Additionally, black sesame seeds are a better source of calcium, iron, fiber and protein than their white counterparts, making them an especially healthful addition to your diet.
If you're having a tough time meeting your daily calcium needs for strong and healthy bones, black sesame seeds can help. A 1-ounce serving, which is approximately 2 tablespoons, of these seeds meets 40 percent of the daily value for calcium, or 400 milligrams. By comparison, 1 cup of nonfat milk meets 30 percent of the daily value. Adults needs 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day. Adding black sesame seeds to some of your favorite dishes can up your intake of this essential nutrient.
Iron is a mineral needed to make hemoglobin, the protein found in your red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. Iron is also a nutrient of concern for a number of different groups in the United States, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, including children, teen girls, pregnant women and women of childbearing age. Black sesame seeds are a good source of iron and can help you meet your needs. A 1-ounce serving of these little seeds contains 3.6 milligrams of iron. Children and adults need 8 to 18 milligrams of iron a day depending on age and gender.
Good for Your Heart
Black sesame seeds are also good for heart health. A 1-ounce serving of the seeds contains 3 grams of fiber, meeting 18 percent of the daily value for fiber for a 2000-calorie diet. People who get more fiber in their diet have lower rates of coronary heart disease, according to a 2009 article published in "Nutrition Review." Higher intakes of fiber are also associated with lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. In addition to helping your heart, the fiber in black sesame seeds may also alleviate constipation.
Talking Calories and Protein
While black sesame seeds are full of nutrients that benefit your health, they are a concentrated source of calories. A 1-ounce serving of black sesame seeds contains 160 calories. Eating too many calories, even from healthy sources, can lead to weight gain. But with 5 grams of protein per 1-ounce serving, these seeds are a good source of protein. Keep a lid on calories by using black sesame seeds as a healthy protein replacement for meat, poultry or cheese.
- BBC: Black Sesame Seeds Recipes
- Nuts.com: Black Sesame Seeds: Nutrition Information
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Calcium
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Iron
- Nutrition Review: Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines of Americans, 2010
- Black Sesame Seeds
- SkipthePie.org: Nutritional Info: Seeds, Sesame Butter, Tahini, From Raw and Stone Ground Kernels
- Bob's Red Mill: White Hulled Sesame Seeds
- Photo Credit eye-blink/iStock/Getty Images
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