Sesame seeds are seeds of the flowering plant from the Sasamum genus, which is also called benne. The plant is naturalized in tropical areas across the globe and it is grown for the seeds, which grow in pods or bun. The seeds are considered one of the oldest crops known and domesticated, with China and India as the biggest producers. As part of a plant, these seeds have various health benefits.
Sesame seeds are rich in vitamin B and some minerals. According to World’s Healthiest Foods, the seeds contain vitamin B, which is essential for the proper function of the nervous system, which includes learning, thinking, memory, and sensation. In terms of minerals, sesame seeds have copper, manganese, molybdenum, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, and selenium.
The first three are responsible for the growth and development of tissues and organs, as well as improve the body’s metabolic process. Calcium and phosphorus work together for bone health. On the other hand, magnesium plays a role in neuromuscular coordination. Iron is important in the oxygenation of tissues and cells while zinc is vital for digestive health and wound healing. Meanwhile, selenium plays a role in preventing cell damage by generating special proteins called antioxidant enzymes.
Sesame seeds also promote the health of the mouth, or the buccal cavity. According to Natural Society, it is possible by removing the plaque in the teeth, as well as triggering the process called oil pulling. As per the publication, oil pulling involves swishing oil around the mouth, which eventually increases oral health and whitens the teeth. In a study, as cited by the publication, this process ws shown to decrease the number of streptococccus mutants, a form of bacteria, in both teeth plaque and mouth saliva. Thus, the seeds, in the process, are really capable of destroying the teeth and irritating the gums.
Sesame seeds also promotes cardiovascular health. According to Nutrition and You, the seeds contain mono-unsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid, which helps reduce low-density lipoproteins or bad cholesterol in the body. This means that the amount of high-density lipoproteins or good cholesterol in the blood will increase. As per studies, Mediterranean diet, which is high in mono-unsaturated fats, also help prevent cardiovascular diseases like coronary artery disease and stroke.
Sesame seeds help prevent cancer. According to Organic Facts, the seeds contain the uncommon compound phytate, which acts as an antioxidant. As per the publication, phytate decreases the effects of free radicals to the body. They are harmful cellular metabolic byproducts, which have been linked to various forms of cancers, in addition to other medical conditions like cognitive malfunctions, heart diseases, and premature aging. It is added that sesame seeds can help prevent cancer types like breast, colon, lung, leukemia, pancreatic, and prostate.
Sesame seeds can be used in various recipes, such as Sesame Beef. According to All Recipes, the ingredients include a pound of round steak, two tablespoons of sesame seeds, four tablespoons of soy sauce, four tablespoons of white sugar, four tablespoons of vegetable oil, two cloves garlic (minced), and two green onions (chopped).
To prepare, as per the publication, the person mixes the soy sauce, oil, sugar, garlic, and onion in a large bowl and the mixture is set aside. Next, the steak is cut into strips and are added to the bowl. It is covered and refrigerated for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Once done, the food is cooked in wok or frying pan for about five minutes, until it becomes brown in color. Finally, the sesame seeds are added and are cooked for additional two minutes.