Which is better: Black or White sesame seeds?

Post-venturing into the realms of wholefoods eating, I became very conscientious about consuming “whole” and unrefined forms of various foods.

And after entering into this kind of lifestyle, I thought black sesame seeds were healthier than white sesame seeds; the same way we think brown rice is healthier than white, raw nuts vs. roasted nuts, etc.

But then, one day, my mum asked if we had any white sesame seeds in the pantry.

Krong-krang Thai dessert
Krong-krang Thai dessert

She’d wanted to add more white sesame seeds to the Thai dessert she was eating (called “Krong-Krang”)

As a matter of fact, white sesame seeds are more commonly used in European, South-Middle-East Asian cuisine, as oppose to black sesame seeds used in Far-East Asian cuisines.

White sesame seeds with their hulls removed, are much milder in flavor, and do not have that slight ‘bitter’ undertone as ‘whole sesame seeds’.

So I thought, why not stock some white sesame seeds in our cupboard as well as black? Do they really lack the antioxidants or other nutritional values which un-hulled sesame seeds contain?

Here are the results of my research, and the answer to the question:

Which is better: White or Black sesame seeds?


The nutritional values of Black and white sesame seeds are very similar although…

1. Black sesame seeds contain 60% more calcium than hulled white sesame seeds

1 tbsp of whole sesame seeds (52 calories) contain 9% of daily recommendation of calcium.

source: http://www.ehow.com/info_8406436_black-vs-white-sesame-seeds.htmlhttp://www.black-sesame-seeds.com/

2. Black sesame seeds and their hulls seem to contain higher a levels of antioxidant activity than their hulled counterparts, according to this low-profile, 2006 study

source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814605006801

(My own opinion)

3. Sesame seeds hulls are slightly bitter, and the bitter coating of seeds usually indicates presence of potentially toxic acids i.e. oxalate or phytic which can inhibit our body’s absorption of certain nutrients.

In summary:

Don’t be put off by the fact that white = not whole. Not all hulled, refined foods are unhealthy i.e. blanched almonds. Both sesame varieties are equally nutritious, so choosing between these two versions of simply depends on your own personal interests i.e. whether you want more calcium out of eating sesame seeds, or you would prefer a milder, nutty taste etc.

‘Hulled’ and not ‘whole’ doesn’t always mean unhealthy.

So for me, from now on, I will indiscriminately choose the types of sesame seeds I consume (or have a mixture) since both of them are highly nutritious, high in calcium, and provide natural flavorings to meals 🙂


(Sesame seeds in a shaker bottle! I love Korean food products!)

Personally, I never knew that there were red and brown and other varieties of sesame seeds!

9 thoughts on “Which is better: Black or White sesame seeds?”

    1. Hi! Thanks a lot for your reply! This was a blog post written 3 years ago. I re-read the post and I believe what you quoted was a typo. I had meant their nutritional PROFILE rather than VALUE were similar. Sorry for the confusion and thanks for pointing it out (- ^ o ^ -)/
      I am about to return to blogging, it would be great if you can subscribe for more health posts to come ^_^

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