Sesame has some excellent properties. It is a very aromatic seed and is a vegetable product with a high calcium and omega 3 content. Find out how to consume it.
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What is sesame and what is it for?
Sesame is a small seed that grows from the plant of the same name. It is also known as sesame seed. Despite its tiny size, it is a very complete source of nutrients. The plant is native to India and Africa, and was transported to America by slaves, who used its seeds to thicken and flavour a variety of dishes. The women of ancient Babylon ate halva, a mixture of honey and sesame seeds to prolong their youth and beauty. Roman soldiers also did the same to increase their strength and energy.
There are different varieties of seeds, which are distinguished by their colour, from whitish to black. Most of the sesame produced worldwide is used to make edible oil, although in recent years the use of this seed in cooking has greatly increased, especially for pastry-making.
Nutritional value of sesame
Sesame or sesame seeds have a high protein content, in addition to being rich in methionine, an essential amino acid. The seed consists mainly of unsaturated fatty acids, which are considered more beneficial than the saturated type. To this is added its lecithin and phytosterol content. It is a source of minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, zinc, potassium and is rich in B vitamins such as B1 (or thiamine) and vitamin E.
- Thanks to its unsaturated fatty acid content, sesame helps to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels when consumed in the right proportions, thereby protecting against coronary heart disease.
- It also helps regulate and improve bowel function with its high fibre content.
- Sesame vegetable protein contains an essential amino acid, methionine, which is excellent as part of a vegetarian or vegan diet.
- The iron content in sesame is approximately 9 mg/100 g. This micro-mineral participates in different functions within the body. It is essential to transport oxygen and takes part in the production of haemoglobin and collagen.
- The magnesium provided by sesame seeds contributes to the proper functioning of nerves and muscles and helps keep our bones strong.
How should sesame be consumed?
Sesame seeds are often used in the preparation of various dishes such as sushi, salads, wok cooking, pasta, soups and pastries. They can be consumed in a number of different ways to get the most out of their nutritional properties.
- Toasted and ground: They can be crushed with a grinder or mortar but it's better not to do so too completely, so that they does not lose any of their special properties.
- Sesame vegetable drink: It can be bought ready prepared in the supermarket or made at home by beating 100 grams of sesame that were previously soaked in water for 6 to 8 hours), using 1 litre of water. Strain and add some natural sweetener. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Sesame oil: This type of oil is widely used in Asian cuisine, especially in Chinese cooking. You can put a few drops in a variety of dishes to give them an original touch.
- Tahin: Tahini or tahin is a paste made with ground sesame seeds, either roasted or natural. It is one of the key ingredients of hummus.