In a Nutshell
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Sesame is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world which originated from India. From Babylonia to the Far East, people have been consuming sesame seeds for thousands of years. They have been widely employed in culinary as well as in traditional medicines for their nutritive, preventive, and curative properties.
Nutrition & Health
Seeds are a nutrient dense food so just by adding a little bit to your diet they can contribute to a wide range of potential health benefits. They are naturally cholesterol free, gluten free, low in saturated fat and are a low glycemic-index food.
They are good sources of fiber, antioxidants, phytosterols, heart healthy fats, plant protein and rich in vitamins and minerals. Sesame seeds are particularly:
The richest source of phytosterols among all nuts and seeds
Known mostly for its cholesterol lowering effects. The specific type of phytosterol they supply is called beta-sitosterol, which is tied to improved prostate health as well as better arterial function.
Source of beneficial lignans, specifically Sesamin & Sesamolin
Together, these compounds help combat harmful free radicals from the human body. They have also been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans and to prevent high blood pressure. Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage. Recent research suggests these lignans have potential anticancer effects, especially in regard to preventing colon and breast cancers.
Rich in beneficial compounds, minerals and vitamins
An excellent source of copper and a very good source of manganese, but they are also a good source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber. Not to mention that they are also a good source of the amino acid tryptophan which has been linked to antidepressant effects.
In summary, from phytosterols, lignans, heart healthy oleic fatty acids, fiber and the many vital vitamins, minerals to other healthy nutrients, these seeds have been associated with heart, bone, skin and oral health as well as promoting sleep, mood and providing protection from liver oxidative damage and certain types of cancers!
Buying & Storage Tips
The seeds can be available in black, brown, yellow or white colors, packed inside air-sealed packs as well as in bulk bins. Avoid old, offensive smelling (rancid) seeds and make sure there is no evidence of moisture when buying seeds in bulk.
Unhulled sesame seeds can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place. Store hulled "white" seeds always inside the refrigerator or freezer. If stored properly, dry seeds stay fresh for several months.