Every couple of weeks I buy my family 1kg of raw sesame seeds at the market. This costs me just a few dollars and I use it in a lot of ways. At first this was just because I use it so often as a garnish on top of noodles, rice, stir fries and in Japanese style rice balls. Then it was because I heard that sesame seeds are a great source of calcium.
My eldest son is the non-cheese eater, non-milk drinker and overall picky guy who will only consume yogurt that is sweetened to his very particular tastes. Eat tofu all day long, he will, but he won’t touch pasta that clearly has parmesan grated over the top.
Sesame seeds are also high magnesium, manganese, copper and iron. While a very small percentage of Australians suffer sesame seed and sesame oil allergies, this generally occurs in people who have existing serious allergies which lead to anaphylactic reactions. If you don’t suffer from this allergy, incorporating sesame seeds into your family’s diet can provide a lot of health benefits.
Source of protein
Sesame seeds are high in protein, with 17g of protein per 100g of seed. This can provide part of the protein needs for Vegetarian families, or when you are trying to reduce the amount of meat that your family consumes.
With high amounts of zinc, sesame seeds help the body produce more collagen and also assist in healing damaged tissue.
While zinc assists with healthy skin, it can also increase bone density. The high amounts of calcium also assist with bone production and health.
Reduce blood pressure
With high amounts of magnesium which has been proven to assist in reducing blood pressure, sesame seeds are recommended eating for hypertensive diabetics.
High fibre for relieving constipation
In your average 2000 calorie diet, 100g of sesame seeds will provide 56% of the required dietary fibre. Helps move everything along.
High in oleic acid
Oleic acid is a mono-unsaturated fatty acid which helps lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol in the blood.
Sesame seeds contain sesamol and sesaminal, anti-oxdiants which can protect the body from the damage of free radicals.
High in vitamins
Sesame seeds contain vitamin b6, niacin, thiamine or vitamin b1. For pregnant women in particular, 100g of sesame seeds contains 25% of the recommended daily intake of folic acid which assist in preventing neural tube defects in babies.
Hair growth and repair
Being high in essential fatty acids omega-3,6 and 9, sesame seeds promote hair growth and health. After 3 pregnancies, my hair is pretty lank and damaged and needs all the help it can get.
How to Eat them?
As for how to incorporate sesame seeds into your diet there are a lot of ways.
- Sesame seeds can be added to sweet and savoury bread doughs and cookie doughs.
- Add raw or toasted seeds to muesli, or combine sesame seeds with other grains, seeds and nuts when making granola.
- Toasted sesame seeds are often used as a garnish in Asian cooking, particularly Japanese dishes. Add toasted sesame seeds to stir fries, over noodles or rice or mix through cooked rice when making sushi.
- Tahini is pure sesame paste and is used in Middle Eastern cooking for a variety of dishes, dips, sauces and sweets such as halvah. My favourite way to use sesame seeds and tahini is in a simple noodle sauce which can be eaten warm or cold. Tahini is great to have on hand, as it keeps for ages in the pantry. This sauce is a combination of Japanese and Chinese styles of sesame noodle sauce and is made almost entirely of basic store-cupboard ingredients.