Sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum) come from a plant that grows in Africa and India. They began to spread around the world due to slave trade, as slaves often preferred to travel with their own provisions to ensure they had them wherever they arrived.
These protein-rich seeds contain a significant amount of unsaturated fatty acids and important minerals such as iron, zinc, and calcium.
Types of Sesame Seeds
In this article, we’ll tell you the different types of sesame seeds that exist and their nutritional value. Read on to learn more!
Black Sesame Seeds
These seeds are widely used due to the aroma they give off after they’re baked.
Although black sesame seeds have the same nutritional properties as whole ones, they’re also rich in antioxidants.
They’re used to make baked goods because when the seeds are roasted and ground, they give off a very fragrant aroma and have an intense flavor. These seeds are used to make high-quality sesame oil.
Unhulled Seeds or Whole Seeds
Unhulled sesame seeds have a greater nutritional value than white ones. They contain eight times more calcium than white hulled seeds.
Products made from unpeeled seeds, such as butter and tahini paste, tend to be darker and more bitter.
White Sesame Seeds
White seeds are used to make cakes, bread, and other baked goods and provide a crunchy texture.
Approximately 50% of their weight is oil. It’s an essential condiment in China and Japan that adds a delicious flavor and aroma to dishes. These seeds also stimulate digestion and contain many nutritional properties.
The Nutritional Value
While it’s true that they don’t contain all the essential amino acids, sesame seeds are rich in proteins. If you combine them with grains, you get very valuable, healthy protein.
A good way to do this is by adding a few seeds to muesli cereals during breakfast.
Essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) are one of the star ingredients of these seeds. These acids are really important and beneficial to your health.
They’re called essential fatty acids because our bodies can’t produce them, meaning we need to ingest them through food. These fatty acids are extremely beneficial for the cardiovascular system because they lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of conditions related to poor artery health.
Another notable property of sesame seeds is that they’re rich in fiber, a special type of carbohydrate.
Fiber is essential to good intestinal health because it cleans waste from intestinal walls.
These seeds are rich in B vitamins (B1, B3, B6, and folic acid). These vitamins are essential for healthy skin and tissues and promote proper heart and muscle functioning.
Also, they contain a significant amount of vitamin E, one of the most antioxidant vitamins, which is capable of counteracting the effects of free radicals.
Sesame seeds contain various minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, etc. Most notably, sesame seeds are one of the richest sources of calcium.
Therefore, children, postmenopausal women, and pregnant women should consume them.
Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds
Regular consumption of sesame seeds is beneficial in many ways:
- They protect your cardiovascular system. This is because the polyunsaturated fatty acids they contain improve the condition of the arteries, thus reducing the risk of hypertension, heart attack, and angina pectoris, among other conditions.
- Sesame seeds help people who suffer from diabetes. According to studies, regular consumption of sesame oil lowers blood pressure and blood glucose levels in diabetic hypertensives.
- They may help improve depression. This is because they contain a significant amount of the amino acid tryptophan, the precursor of serotonin, which controls stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and lack of energy.
- These seeds reduce your risk of osteoporosis, as they contain a significant amount of calcium
- They keep us healthy. Their antioxidant vitamins and minerals keep the immune system in top shape and fight free radicals.
- They may protect your digestive system thanks to the fiber they contain. This protects the mucous membranes and reducing the risk of irritation (gastritis, heartburn, etc.).
- These seeds may improve oral health. According to Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine), holding some sesame oil in your mouth for a few minutes reduces the risk of cavities, gingivitis, plaque, and bad breath.
Therefore, sesame seeds are a nutrient-dense food you should add to your diet. Also, remember to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly!