Sesame Seeds: Nutritional Powerhouse or Overrated Snack?



Sesame seeds, despite their small size, pack a surprising nutritional punch, making them one of the most accessible superfoods. But just how nutrient-dense are they, and what happens if you consume too much? Additionally, there are rumors about their digestibility and their relationship with the body’s free radicals. Let’s dive deeper into these topics.

Nutritional Value of Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds contain a variety of essential nutrients. Here’s a breakdown of the nutrients found in 100 grams of roasted white sesame seeds:

Calories573 kcalProvides energy needed for bodily functions
Protein17.7 gNecessary for muscle and bone formation and repair
Fat49.7 gServes as an energy source and is necessary for cell structure
Carbohydrates23.5 gImportant energy source
Dietary Fiber11.8 gPromotes intestinal health and improves bowel movements
Calcium975 mgNecessary for maintaining healthy bones and teeth
Iron14.6 mgNecessary for red blood cell production and oxygen transport
Magnesium351 mgInvolved in nerve transmission, muscle movement, and energy production
Phosphorus629 mgInvolved in bone and tooth formation and energy metabolism
Potassium468 mgNecessary for muscle contraction, nerve transmission, and maintaining fluid balance
Zinc7.8 mgInvolved in maintaining immune function, wound healing, and normalizing taste sensation
Vitamin B10.79 mgNecessary for carbohydrate energy metabolism
Vitamin B20.25 mgInvolved in maintaining healthy skin and mucous membranes and energy production
Niacin4.5 mgInvolved in maintaining healthy skin and mucous membranes and energy production
Vitamin E0.25 mgActs as an antioxidant, helping to prevent cell aging

Roasted sesame seeds are indeed a high-calorie food, containing about 573 kilocalories of energy per 100 grams. They are also rich in protein, with about 17.7 grams, which helps in muscle and bone formation. The fat content is also high at about 49.7 grams, primarily serving as an energy source and for cell structure.

Roasted sesame seeds contain about 11.8 grams of dietary fiber, which is effective in maintaining intestinal health and improving bowel movements. Notably, the calcium content is very high at 975 milligrams, which is crucial for maintaining healthy bones and teeth.

Other minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium are also abundant, supporting various bodily functions. Vitamins, particularly B vitamins and vitamin E, are also present and contribute to maintaining overall health.

Are Sesame Seeds Hard to Digest?

It’s a common belief that sesame seeds are difficult to digest when eaten whole. In fact, when sesame seeds are consumed whole, their tough outer shell can make digestion challenging, preventing nutrient absorption. This is because the outer shell is very sturdy and difficult to break down in the stomach and intestines.

So, how can you ensure that your body absorbs the nutrients from sesame seeds? The answer is to grind them. Grinding sesame seeds breaks down the outer shell, making it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients.

Therefore, it is recommended to consume sesame seeds in a ground or paste form for optimal nutrient absorption.

What About Sesame Salt Seasoning?

Some readers may be wondering about sesame salt seasoning, which is commonly used in Japanese cuisine. Sesame salt seasoning is typically made by mixing whole sesame seeds with salt, rather than using ground sesame seeds. As a result, the nutrients in the sesame seeds are less easily absorbed compared to ground sesame seeds, due to the tough outer shell.

However, this doesn’t mean that sesame salt seasoning provides no nutritional value at all. During the chewing process, some of the sesame seeds are crushed, allowing for some nutrient absorption. When using sesame salt seasoning in cooking, even in small amounts, it’s important to chew well to ensure maximum nutrient intake. Sesame salt seasoning is a delicious and nutritious condiment that is highly recommended!

What Happens if You Eat Too Many Sesame Seeds?

While sesame seeds are a healthy food, it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes. Due to their high calorie content, excessive consumption can lead to weight gain. Specifically, it is recommended to avoid consuming more than 28 grams (about 2-3 tablespoons) per day.

Additionally, sesame seeds contain oxalates, which, when consumed in excess, may increase the risk of kidney stones.

Free Radicals and Sesame Seeds

Have you heard of free radicals? Free radicals are a type of oxygen produced in the body that, when in excess, can cause cell damage, aging, and various diseases.

Sesame seeds contain compounds such as sesamin, sesamolin, and vitamin E, which have antioxidant properties. These compounds help remove free radicals, preventing cell oxidation and contributing to the prevention of aging and disease.

For example, sesamin is a unique lignan found in sesame seeds that has strong antioxidant effects and is known to inhibit the production of free radicals. Vitamin E also has the ability to neutralize free radicals in the body. By consuming sesame seeds, you can benefit from these antioxidant compounds and protect your body from the harmful effects of free radicals.


Sesame seeds are highly nutritious and, when consumed in moderation, can provide numerous health benefits. However, overconsumption can increase the risk of obesity and kidney stones, so it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes.

The antioxidant compounds found in sesame seeds help combat free radicals, contributing to overall health maintenance. By incorporating sesame seeds into a balanced diet in appropriate amounts, you can maximize their nutritional benefits.