#sesame seeds are very small, oval seeds. They can be found with different colors, depending upon the variety, including white, yellow, black and red seeds.
They are highly valued for their high content of sesame oil, an oil that is very resistant to rancidity – which means it doesn’t go bad very quickly.
Sesame seeds have a nutty taste and a fragile, practically undetectable, crunch to numerous Eastern meals. They are likewise the cornerstones in #tahini (the famous sesame seed paste) and the fantastic Middle Eastern sweet call halva.
Research speculates that sesame must be the most ancient seeds in existence, after barley and corn. Talking about research it’s scientific name is Sesamun indicum.
But first, some History!
As sesame seeds have been reported growing in tropical regions throughout the world since prehistoric times, myths found in plates and papyrus say that their origins go back to the roots of history. According to Assyrian legend, when the gods met to create the world, they drank an alcoholic beverage made from sesame seeds.
Sesame seeds were thought to have first originated in India and were mentioned in early Hindu legends. In these legends, sesame seeds represent the symbol of immortality. Later on, sesame seeds were introduced throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
As they were early on used to make oil and condiments, the addition of sesame seeds to baked goods can be traced back to ancient Egyptian times from an ancient tomb painting that depicts a baker adding the seeds to bread dough.
Not only are sesame seeds an excellent source of copper but it also provides calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and much of the needed dietary fiber. Additionally to these nutrients that are essential to our health, sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin.
Rich In Beneficial Minerals
Being a great source of many nutrients and minerals this means that sesame can provide you with an abundance of health benefits:
1. Copper Eases the pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Copper is known for its use in reducing some of the pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis. Copper has an effect of a number of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory enzyme systems. In addition, copper plays an important role in the activity of lysyl oxidase, an enzyme needed to provide structure, strength and elasticity in blood vessels, joints and bones.
2. Magnesium Supports Respiratory and Vascular Health
Studies have supported magnesium’s usefulness in:
- Preventing the airway spasm in asthma
- Lowering high blood pressure, which can contribute in heart attack, stroke episodes as well as and diabetic heart disease.
- Preventing blood vessel spasms that triggers migraine attacks
- It can help restoring normal sleep in women who are experiencing symptoms of menopause
3. Calcium Helps Prevent Colon Cancer, Osteoporosis, and Migraine
In recent studies, calcium has been shown to:
- Help protect colon cells from cancer-causing chemicals
- Help prevent bone loss resulting from menopause or certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Help prevent migraine headaches
- Reduce PMS symptoms during the second half of the menstrual cycle
4. Sesame Seeds’ Phytosterols Can Lower Cholesterol
Phytosterols are found in plants and amazingly enough, they have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol. When they are present in a diet in sufficient amounts, are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease risk of certain cancers.
Phytosterols effects are so amazing for our health that the food industry has found ways to extract them from soybeans, corn, and pine trees and then add the to newly -created foods, such as “butter”-replacement spreads, which are then touted as cholesterol-lowering “foods.” But why settle for an “butter”-like spread when Mother Nature’s nuts and seeds are a naturally rich source of phytosterols—and cardio-protective fiber, minerals and healthy fats as well?
Sesame seeds had the highest total phytosterol content (400-413 mg per 100 grams), and English walnuts and Brazil nuts the lowest (113 mg/100grams and 95 mg/100 grams). (100 grams is equivalent to 3.5 ounces.) Of the nuts and seeds typically consumed as snack foods, pistachios and sunflower seeds were richest in phytosterols (270-289 mg/100 g), followed by pumpkin seeds (265 mg/100 g).
How to Enjoy
Do you enjoy baking? Add a handful of sesame seeds into the batter the next time you make homemade bread, muffins or cake.
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
Healthy sauté chicken with sesame seeds, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and your favorite vegetables for a healthy, but quick, Asian-inspired dinner.
If you are up with a quick solution, Urbangrains has a unique combination of hearty black-eyed peas with tahini paste, in a ready-to-eat jar. Simply empty into a nice finely chopped green salad and sprinkle a few drops of olive oil and lemon – or eat as is!