Are Sesame Seeds a Diabetes-Friendly Food Option?

Are Sesame Seeds a Diabetes-Friendly Food Option?


Glycemic index:


Calories per 100 g:

631 kcal

Sesame seeds are tiny white seeds eaten as snacks or added to meals as flavor enhancers. They’ve also found use in sweets preparations and are common in winter due to their warming effect on the inner parts of the body. What’s more, eating sesame seeds has been attributed to providing energy boosts and triggering alertness.

However, despite these benefits, one that has stood out in recent times is its believed ability to regulate blood sugar. Sesame seeds’ supposed relationship with blood sugar control had made it one of the popular additions to the diet of people with diabetes. Also, many health experts recommend daily regular moderate consumptions due to their benefits with blood sugar.

Yet, are the claims that sesame seeds control blood sugar true? This article throws light on this query by considering the basics of sesame seeds, nutritional values, full composition, and health implications.

Nutritional value

  • Protein 20.45 g
  • Carbohydrate 11.73 g
  • Fat 61.21 g
  • Fiber 11.6 g
  • Sugar 0.48 g
  • Cholesterol 0 g

Types of Sesame Seeds

While white sesame seeds may be common in the west, they’re not the only type of sesame seeds available. There are at least three types of sesame seeds, as highlighted below:

Golden or Brown Sesame Seeds

Brown sesame seeds are the most common variant and can be found in many parts of the world.

White Sesame Seeds

These are more common in the United States and are eaten as staple foods.

Black Sesame Seeds

Black sesame seeds aren’t as popular as white or golden brown sesame seeds but are just as enjoyable.

Sesame seeds are rich in nutrients and can be roasted, fried, or crushed. People can also add roasted sesame seeds to salads to enhance the taste.

In addition, they help reduce cholesterol, which means consuming them regularly minimizes the effect of heart diseases. We’ll talk more on this in a bit.

Sesame seeds are also used to make sesame oil. Consuming sesame oil is safe and doesn’t pose any significant danger. In fact, they’re great for treating inflammation and arthritis symptoms.

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Nutritional Value of Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds have been linked with many health benefits, one of them being their ability to reduce blood sugar effectively due to their nutrients and mineral compositions.

Research has shown that sesame seeds comprise four significant minerals diabetes patients need — magnesium, zinc, manganese, and copper. A ¼-cup serving of sesame seeds—a realistic amount for daily consumption—contains 44.5% DV of manganese.

A similar serving size also packs 73.5% DV of copper, 28.6% DV of magnesium, and 21.3% DV of zinc. These nutrients, when consumed daily, reduce insulin resistance and eliminate the risk of hyperglycemia.

Furthermore, sesame seeds have been established to have a very good amount of poly and monounsaturated fats, which are healthy fats. The latter is linked with slowing disease progression in people with type 2 diabetes.

The table below outlines sesame seed nutrition for a 100-gram serving:





563 kcal


25 g

Dietary fiber

16.8 g


43.3 g


18.3 g


1,450 g


9.3 mg


570 mg


2.29 mg


12.20 mg


351 mg

From the above nutrition table alone, one thing is clear — sesame seeds do pack a host of beneficial constituents. However, we’re not stopping here; the following section talks more about their purported benefits. 

Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds' glycemic index is one of the lowest at just 31, making it one winter food desirable by those that want to successfully reduce blood sugar levels. It particularly stands out as one of the best winter seeds as it helps generate inner warmth, which is beneficial during this chilly weather.

There are other benefits that this seed offers and the type is barely significant. For example, sesame seeds also come in handy for people who prefer to boost energy.

Here are some of the most prominent benefits of sesame seeds and why people with diabetes should go for them.

Positively Affects Heart Conditions and Blood Pressure

Sesame seeds are touted to minimize the risk of heart disease development, owing to their high magnesium composition. Magnesium reduces blood pressure and prevents plaque accumulation in the blood vessels. These seeds are also high in protein, associated with reduced cardiovascular disease risk.

Repairs the Body and Strengthen Bones

Sesame seeds whose hulls and coverings have been removed (hulled sesame seeds) are stated to have very high protein benefits that help repair the worn-out tissues and aid recovery. On the other hand, unhulled seeds are highly rich in calcium that aid proper bone development and healing.

Reduces Inflammation

Sesame seeds have been proven to significantly reduce inflammation, especially when used as oil. These oil-rich seeds contain enough healthy vitamins that reduce the effects of infections and all types of inflammation.

Rich in Vitamins That Promote Good Health

Sesame seed is a rich source of vitamins and other nutrients that promote proper body functioning. Namely, they contain vitamin B6, thiamine, and niacin that enhance cellular function and metabolism.

Moreover, sesame seeds are rich in vitamin E, which serves as antioxidants to fight stress and enhance alertness. It also contains copper, and its oil aids the functionality of the blood cells, promoting overall health.

Improves Immunity

As highlighted in their nutritional profile, sesame seeds contain many important nutrients that promote better cell immunity.

These nutrients, including zinc, copper, and iron, ensure that the body isn’t susceptible to diseases and life-threatening complications. This benefit is particularly great for people who have an underlying condition (like diabetes) that predisposes them to other ailments (such as stroke and heart failure). Notably, they need an immunity boost more than healthier people.

Reduce Arthritis Symptoms

An important function of sesame seeds is that they help with arthritis. The seeds contain a compound known as sesamin, attributed to providing relief for people experiencing arthritis.

Helps With Weight Management in the Long Run

Sesame seeds contain high amounts of fiber. Fiber is well known to give the feeling of fullness more than any other type of carbohydrate. Hence, consuming sesame seeds regularly helps you feel full quicker, leading to less food consumption.

Fiber is also good for stabilizing blood sugar and excellent for people with insulin sensitivity issues.

Sesame Seeds and Diabetes: Is This Seed Great for the Condition?

With all of the amazing nutrients that sesame seeds contain, it isn’t out of place for people with diabetes to be curious about whether it can help with their condition. The answer to this question is yes. Sesame seeds can regulate blood sugar levels when consumed in the right amount.

These seeds have a great vast magnesium amount, a nutrient linked to better blood sugar control. A 100-g serving of sesame seeds comprises 251 mg of magnesium. Hence sesame seeds are one of the natural sources of magnesium, a nutrient lacking in many people with diabetes. Why’s that, though?

Due to frequent urination associated with blood sugar increase, many diabetes patients tend to have a magnesium deficiency. This increases their risk of developing further diabetes complications like heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions.

Sesame seeds are also high in fiber, one of the major nutrients that experts confirm to be great for people with diabetes.

Fiber is a type of carb that doesn’t increase blood sugar levels. The body can’t break it down; rather, it forms a thick mix when consumed. This thick mix stabilizes blood glucose levels, ensuring no sudden spikes or dips.

Also, when leaving the body, the fiber mix acts as a cleanser, eliminating bad carbs and unhealthy undigested nutrients. Suffice to say, fiber is one of the biggest nutrients of sesame that’s highly beneficial for people with diabetes. A 100-g serving of sesame seeds contains 12 g of fiber, a rich amount to yield amazing effects on blood sugar levels.

Sesame seeds also have a rich protein content, an excellent substitute for energy from pure carbs. In other words, protein, which helps build up worn-out tissues, can serve as an alternative fuel source for diabetes patients.

The energy sesame seeds provide (due to their protein content) reduces their dependence on bad carbs like sugar and starch. A 100-g serving of sesame seeds contains approximately 18 g of protein.

What Does Research Say?

Different studies have been performed to determine the benefits of sesame seeds to diabetes, and all of them point to one line of thought — that these seeds do help with diabetes. We’ll examine some credible ones below.

A test comprising 38 respondents with raised blood sugar levels showed a positive trend that suggests sesame seeds are vital in reducing blood sugar spikes. All respondents were subjected to 5 tablespoons of hulled sesame seeds daily for eight weeks. The result was a 10% reduction in their LDL “bad” cholesterol levels and an 8% drop in triglyceride.

With the connection of total cholesterol rise and heart diseases, it’s apparent that sesame seeds help prevent the possibility of people with diabetes experiencing such complications if they consume it in the proper amount.

Another research that comprises 20 respondents with prediabetes confirmed that sesame seeds have a significant correlation with diabetes risk reduction. All 20 respondents were given a herbal blend of sesame seeds lignan extracts, and the results included noticeable positive changes in their glycemic levels. Notably, all 20 respondents had reduced cholesterol levels, oral glucose tolerance tests, and fasting blood sugar.

A third study conducted in 2011 and published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition established the importance of sesame oil to diabetes symptoms. Patients with diabetes and prediabetes that consumed sesame oil for 60 days experienced a very significant decrease in blood sugar levels throughout treatment.

Other Important Steps to Take to Protect Your Health

While eating sesame seeds can surely help mitigate blood sugar crisis, it’s important you couple it with other complementary lifestyle changes to ensure you get the best out of it. Here are some excellent ones you should consider.

Adjust Your Diet to Cut Off Sugary Foods

Some foods help reduce blood sugar levels because of their components or properties. There are many great foods that you can go for as a diabetic, and using a diabetes meal planner can help you develop a healthy diet.

Seafood, like shellfish and fish, contains healthy fats, protein, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that help control blood sugar levels. Protein helps prevent increased blood sugar levels after eating, slowing down digestion and increasing the fullness feeling. It also helps enhance the loss of excess body fat and prevent overeating, contributing to healthy blood sugar levels attainment.

Okra is a common tasty vegetable that can regulate blood sugar levels. It contains flavonoids and polysaccharide antioxidants, which lower blood sugar levels. In Turkey, the seeds are popularly used to treat diabetes due to their natural blood sugar-reducing properties.

Lentils and beans are rich in magnesium, protein, and fiber, which helps lower blood sugar. They’re particularly rich in resistant starch and soluble fiber, promoting blood sugar post-meal response and slowing down digestion.

Nuts, nut butter, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, and flax seeds are also great at lowering blood sugar levels.

Use an Insulin Pump

An insulin pump supplies you with a constant dose of insulin throughout the day to help lower your blood sugar levels. In other words, this device enables you to get insulin automatically at a programmed basal rate, allowing you to plan your insulin supply around your daily activities.

Since an insulin pump helps supply you with the exact amount of insulin your body needs daily, it eliminates the need to take insulin shots. All you need to do is click a button, and your body is fed with the correct dose of insulin to help control your blood sugar.

An insulin pump is also ideal for people who find it challenging to find the correct insulin dose to help reduce their blood sugar without inducing excessively low levels.


Sesame seeds are great for people with diabetes, particularly when incorporated into their diets in proper amounts. However, it’s important that diabetics meet with their doctor before altering their diet.

To further buttress a physician’s advice, they could use a meal planner like Klinio to ensure they have the right mix of healthy food that goes well with sesame seeds. That way, they’ll enjoy the full benefits that these edible seeds offer.

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