the Health Benefits of Sesame
By Dr. Ben
you know that half a cup of sesame seeds contains three times more
calcium than half a cup of whole milk? In addition to being an excellent
dietary source of calcium, sesame seeds are also a good source of
manganese, copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1 (thiamin),
zinc, vitamin E, healthy protein, and fiber.
seeds also contain sesamin and sesamolin, two substances that are
thought to prevent high blood pressure and protect the liver against
are two ways in which you can enjoy the distinctive flavor and health
benefits of sesame seeds through your diet:
cup unhulled sesame seeds, available in most health food stores
and some large markets
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, also available in most health
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
unhulled sesame seeds in a dry pan over low to medium heat for
about 5 minutes, or until seeds begin to brown and pop. Be sure
to stir steadiliy while toasting.
a strong blender to grind toasted sesame seeds, nutritional yeast,
and sea salt into a fine powder.
delicious sesame seasoning can be sprinkled generously over vegetable
salads, steamed vegetables, and whole grains like brown rice and
quinoa. Keep leftovers in an airtight container and store in the
refrigerator. The quantities listed above make approximately half
a cup of sesame seasoning.
(Sesame Seed Paste)
tablespoons of sesame seeds - they don't have to be unhulled
1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of lukewarm water
sesame seeds in a blender until smooth. Add sesame oil and sea
salt. Then add 1/4 cup of water in a slow drizzle while blending
and continue until all of the water has been added and the entire
mixture is smooth. The quantities listed above make approximately
half a cup of tahini. Be sure to store leftovers in an airtight
container in the refrigerator.
sesame oil is relatively high in polyunsaturated fatty acids,
which are easily damaged when exposed to heat and light. It is
best to keep your consumption of sesame oil to a minimum. You
can substitute the sesame oil in this recipe with extra water
if you are concerned about your intake of polyunsaturated fatty
way to enjoy the health benefits of sesame is to include sesame
leaves in your diet. Sesame leaves are a staple green vegetable
in the traditional Korean diet, and are valued for their mineral
density and strong aroma. They are as aromatic as herbs like basil
and mint, but have a unique, nutty fragrance.
leaves are difficult to find in most supermarkets. They are readily
available in Korean markets, packaged up in neatly stacked bundles.
They can be used in fresh vegetable salads. They can also be used
as wraps to eat with rice and miso, as described in the following
Miso (Den Jang) Wraps
tablespoon of miso (or den jang, the Korean version of miso)
1 1/2 teaspoons of sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon of hot chili paste (optional)
Bowl of cooked brown or white rice
6-12 sesame leaves
miso, sesame oil, and hot chilli paste together in a small bowl
until uniform. This mixture is called sahm jang, and
is typically served in a small bowl at the center of the table.
a small spoonful of rice in the center of a sesame leaf, add a
small dollop of sahm jang to the rice, wrap it closed
with the outer portions of the sesame leaf, and enjoy. You can
use romaine, green leafy, or red leafy lettuce in addition to
using sesame leaves, taking turns with any and all leafy greens
that are available at the table for each new wrap.
leaves and sesame seeds come from a flowering plant called Sesamum
indicum, which is an annual plant that grows to about 1.5 to 3 feet
you come to enjoy sesame leaves, I recommend that you try growing
Sesamum indicum in your vegetable garden. My grandmother has grown
this plant with ease here in Ontario over the past two decades.
You can ask the owner of your local Korean market where you can
buy seeds that will allow you to grow ggaen neep, the Korean
word for sesame leaves. Alternatively, if you can find a Korean
neighbor who grows this plant, ask him or her to save you some of
the seeds that appear at the end of the growing season.
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