Sesame – A Delicious and Nutritious Seed
From the sesame plant, Sesamum indicum, comes a delicious and nutritious seed used since 1600 B.C. as an outstanding condiment. It has been cultivated since ancient times in the towns along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
It originated in India and Africa, from where it was brought to America by slaves.
There are different varieties that can be distinguished by the color of the seed, from the whitest to the blackest.
The main producers of sesame in the world are India, China, Myanmar, and Sudan, with 70% of total production.
Most of the sesame produced worldwide is used to make edible oil. Its low promotion for consumption as a seed has limited its expansion, despite the relative ease of farming.
Nutritional Value of Sesame Seed
Sesame is a small but powerful seed. In order to absorb its nutrients to the full, it is essential to roast and crush it. It has a high amount of vegetable protein, as well as being rich in methionine, an essential amino acid.
Their fats are unsaturated, in other words, ‘good’; their lecithin and phytosterol content makes them food that contributes to reducing the level of blood cholesterol.
It has high levels of calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, manganese, magnesium and copper, and does not contain gluten.
A handful of sesame seeds have a higher calcium content than a glass of milk. It is rich in vitamins A, E, and B6, niacin, riboflavin, betaine, thiamine, and tocopherol.
Other nutrients in sesame seeds are carbohydrates such as sucrose, fructose, and maltose. They also have lignan, including sesamin, a phytoestrogen with antioxidant properties.
Among edible oils, sesame oil has the highest antioxidant content.
Research has shown how sesamin inhibited the growth of breast cancer cells and also reduced the activity of genes related to lung, bone, kidney, and skin cancers.
Sesamol kills leukemia cells and also helps fight Alzheimer’s by stopping the formation of the beta-amyloid protein, the main compound in the plaques that build up in the brains of those suffering from this disease.
Sesame seeds contain essential fatty acids, such as Omega and Omega 6. The oil is composed of unsaturated fatty acids oleic, linoleic, palmitic, and stearic.
They are rich in calories, 598 in 100 grams of raw seeds, which contain 58 grams of unsaturated fatty acids, 17 grams of protein and good amounts of fiber.
Sesame Seed in Our Health
Sesame can be considered a very safe natural product. It helps fight stress, depression, insomnia, and other nervous system problems.
Its high contents of calcium, iron, and zinc make it highly beneficial for people with anemia. Because of its high fiber content, sesame is a good intestinal regulator and prevents constipation and colon cancer.
It prevents mental and physical exhaustion, memory loss, sexual erectile dysfunction, and sexual laziness, improving memory and mental activity.
It helps to improve the mood, as it raises the good mood on the one hand, and relaxes on the other. That is why it is very useful in cases of anxiety, insomnia, and stress.
Sesame helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels due to its lecithin and vegetable fiber content. This is why it contributes to the good function of the cardiovascular system and reduces the chances of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
It enhances the functioning of the immune system and relieves migraine problems, menopausal disorders, arthritic pains, and prevents asthma attacks.
It helps to remove seborrhea, dandruff, and protect against hair loss, when it is applied in massages to the scalp with a mixture of 5 tablespoons of sesame oil and the juice of a lemon.
Sesame Seed in Our Kitchen
Sesame is mainly used for the production of oil, but its seeds are exquisite in salads and in pasta or rice dishes, thanks to its peculiar taste and texture.
The first cold pressing sesame oil and organic is the version that gives us the best properties of the seeds. Its seeds are used in the preparation of bread, cookies, and confectionery.
Currently, sesame seeds are one of the most widely used oilseeds in international cuisine and confectionery, especially in the East.
About one-third of the sesame imported into the United States from Mexico is purchased by McDonald’s for use in their meals.
Sesame sauce is recommended to complement almost any type of food thanks to its nutritional values and its smooth and pleasant flavor.
Healthy and Handy Uses of Sesame
As a substitute for butter, this healthy recipe is a base for other sesame preparations.
To make it, wash and soak 1 pound of unroasted or roasted sesame, as you like, in warm water for three hours, and then strain it without discarding the water.
Then it is blended, adding the water from the soaking until you get an homogeneous paste.
You may add a touch of curry.
Finally, it is bottled in a glass jar and stored in the refrigerator.
Spread on wholemeal bread is ideal as a snack, and you can add fruit on top or a little honey to sweeten the taste.
Blend 4 ounces of sesame seeds, previously soaked in 4 cups of water for 6 to 8 hours.
Strain and add cinnamon and natural sweeteners.
It can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.
8 ounces of sesame seeds
1/2 cup of virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
- To make our sauce more tasty, we roast the sesame seeds.
- To do this, we put the seeds in a non-stick pan and brown them for about five minutes.
- We let it cool down.
- Put the seeds and a pinch of salt to taste in the glass of a grinder.
- When the sesame is ground, and it starts to form a paste, we start adding the oil little by little, until we get a creamy paste.
- When we get the texture we like, we pass it to a bowl or an airtight jar if we are not going to use it already.
Ideal for soaking in this dip, sticks of our favorite vegetables such as carrots or celery.
Beet and Cucumber Carpaccio
2 cooked beets
1 ounce of sesame seeds
3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of honey
Salt to taste
- Cut the beets into thin slices.
- Peel the cucumber and slice it in the same way as the beets.
- Place on a plate, alternately, slices of beets and cucumber.
- Mix the oil, vinegar, and honey in a bowl and season to taste.
- Mix well and season the carpaccio with this dressing.
- Roast the sesame in a pan without oil, and when cold, sprinkle the carpaccio on top.
And ready to enjoy this original and tasty carpaccio!