Are Sesame Seeds Paleo?


The idea behind a Paleo diet is to eat plants, animals nuts and seeds, and that includes sesame seeds. Just remember that there is a reason that seeds are listed last. Our hunter gatherer ancestors probably ate them, but only a few here and there. Handfuls of the stuff were not available to them and so we should be careful how we eat them.

The Nutritional Benefits of Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are an excellent source of phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and zinc, all of which are trace minerals that are vital to our health, particularly our immune system. However, sesame seeds are also high in fat and that fat consists almost entirely of the inflammatory polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) known as Omega-6.

Paleo and PUFAs

The current Standard American Diet (SAD) is much higher in Omega-6 fats and lower in the anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats than our bodies have ever seen in our evolutionary history. A large part of the reason for this is the move away from butter and animal fats to vegetable and seed oils. The result is an inflammatory diet that promotes weight gain and oxidized LDL cholesterol in our blood stream. It is the oxidized LDL that we should be wary of, as that is what will cling to our artery walls and create plaque and more inflammation.

Sesame Seed Oil

Sesame seed oil is one of the most stable seed oils, due to its high anti-oxidant content. As their name suggests, anti-oxidants protect the fats in the oil from oxidizing, making it one of the safer seed oils to consume.

I wouldn’t make a habit of it, though. You’re still better off with olive oil, coconut oil, or good old fashioned lard.

Nevertheless, Mark Sisson did include sesame seeds in his guide to edible seeds.