SESAME SEEDS And Weight Loss
Sesame seeds, a native plant of Africa, Turkey and Arabia, and a staple food in China and India, have been cultivated for thousands of years. The sesame seed is referred to as the ‘seed of immortality’, and without doubt, some of the nutrient benefits promote long life. The seed itself can also last for ages after harvesting, as the substance sesamol, unique to sesame seeds, prevents the oxidation and deterioration of the precious oils. Nearly half the seed weight is made up from oils (49g) with a low saturated content of 7g, mono 19g and polyunsaturated 23g. Sesame seeds provide omega-6 (25g) and only a trace of omega-3.
The protein value of sesame seeds is excellent (19g whole and 18g hulled). The rich supply of the amino acid methionine (637mg) promotes the metabolism of fats plus it offsets the common low supply of methionine from numerous other foods, when considering complete protein and a well-balanced supply of amino acids. A small amount of ground sesame seeds added to vegetable soup, bread or legume dishes will greatly boost protein value. Sesame seeds are not easy to completely digest, unless they are ground into a paste, or eaten as tahini, halva or sesame meal, for use in numerous recipes such as cakes, biscuits, sprinkled over fruit salad or mixed into vegetable burgers.
The calcium content of sesame seeds is excellent (900-1100mg or 100% d.v.). Sesame seeds, ground, are the ideal non-dairy calcium food and they provide more calcium than Cheddar cheese (775mg) and no cholesterol. In addition, sesame seeds provide special fibres, termed lignans, that actually lower blood cholesterol. Tahini supplies 420mg of calcium.
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The supply of the trace mineral copper is abundant (4.1mg or 200% d.v.). It provides benefits in cases of rheumatoid arthritis, as copper is part of the enzyme that reduces inflammation, plus copper is required for the production of elastin and collagen. Apart from liver, sesame seeds are the best copper food. The supply of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6 is very good. For an excellent supply of iron, sesame seeds provide 10-14 mg, or 60-80% d.v. The supply of magnesium (350mg or 80% d.v.) assists sleep patterns, promotes steady nerves and may reduce migraine attacks, as magnesium reduces the spasms in the trigeminal nerve blood vessels which cause the pain. Sesame seeds are full of phosphorus (630mg) and zinc (7.8mg), both values over 50% daily value. The old saying ‘open sesame’ originates from the fact that, as soon as the sesame plant has ripened, the seeds pop out of the pods and scatter on the ground.
Sesame seeds are an excellent source of lecithin, required for the dissolving of fats and reduction of cholesterol. Sesame seeds contain no cholesterol and they are a rich source of phytosterols (714mg), plant sterols that inhibit the absorption of cholesterol. In addition, phytosterols can assist with the control of blood sugar levels for diabetics, reduce prostate enlargements and inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis.
Sesame seeds also supply manganese (2.5mg), potassium (468mg), selenium (5.7mg) and folate (97mcg).
Sesame seeds decorate the daily bread rolls, but let your imagination loose in the kitchen together with some traditional sesame seed recipes and open the door to a new world of sesame sensations!
NOTE: d.v. refers to the daily value for women 25-50 years, refer to RDI chart for adult male and child values.