Sesame Seed Nutrients Can Help Reduce Blood Sugar in Prediabetes

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Before people develop Type 2 diabetes, they almost always have “prediabetes,” a condition of blood sugar higher than normal, but not high enough to be clinically diagnosed as having diabetes. Sometimes called impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose, this condition does carry risks, including a higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

For the most part, early treatment for what is causing the high blood sugar can prevent you for developing full-blown diabetes. For example, research shows that you can lower your risk by 58% by losing just 7% of your body weight (just 15 pounds if you weigh 200) and exercising 30 minutes a day for five days a week.

Whole grains, nuts and seeds are considered a healthful part of the diabetic diet, especially due to their fiber content. Nuts and seeds additionally have a number of other properties, making them a good choice for both diabetic patients and those at risk for cardiovascular disease. These include antioxidants, phyotsterols, and minerals.

While most of us may grab a handful of walnuts or cashews as a heart-healthy, diabetic-friendly snack, researchers have found a reason why you may want to also select sunflower seeds once in a while.

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In a small trial featuring 20 subjects with prediabetes and mild-to-moderate hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), those taking a trademarked blend of sesame seed lignin extract had lowered cholesterol and improved glycemic levels. Specifically, the researchers noted “a statistical significant reduction in low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), total cholesterol, oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), and fasting blood sugar (FBS).”

Just one-fourth cup of sesame seeds offers 73.5% of the daily value of copper, 44.5% DV for manganese, 31.5% for the day’s needs for magnesium and 18.6% of the daily value for zinc. These four minerals are particularly important for diabetic patients as alterations in the metabolism of these nutrients are linked to hyperglycemia and insulin resistance.

The phytosterols found in sesame seeds are among the highest of all seeds and nuts – 400 to 413 per 100 grams.

The George Mateljan Foundation offers the following tips for getting more sesame seeds into your heart-healthy, diabetic-friendly diet:
• Add sesame seeds into the batter the next time you make homemade bread, muffins or cookies.
• Sesame seeds add a great touch to steamed broccoli that has been sprinkled with lemon juice.
• Spread tahini (sesame paste) on toasted bread and either drizzle with honey for a sweet treat or combine with miso for a savory snack.
• Combine toasted sesame seeds with rice vinegar, soy sauce and crushed garlic and use as a dressing for salads, vegetables and noodles.
• Healthy sauté chicken with sesame seeds, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and your favorite vegetables for a healthy, but quick, Asian-inspired dinner.

Journal References:
HN Shivaprasad, et al. “The Beneficial Effects of SesaVita TM on Lipid Profiles and Blood Glucose Levels in Subjects with Prediabetes and Mild-to-Moderate Hyperlipidemia in India. Journal of Food Research. Vol 2, No5; 2013
Robert M. Walter Jr MD et al. “Copper, Zinc, Manganese, and Magnesium Status and Complications of Diabetes Mellitus” Diabetes Care 14:105056, 1991.

Additional Resources:
American Diabetes Association
The World’s Healthiest Foods (The George Mateljan Foundation)

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