Although small, sesame seeds are packed with nutrients such as healthy fats, protein, calcium, antioxidants and dietary fiber. The primary fats in the seeds are monounsaturated fatty acids called oleic acid. Oleic acid has been shown to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase the HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
The seeds — which are available in a range of colors, including white, black, red and yellow — are sources of essential minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium and copper. Did you know that ¼ cup of sesame seeds has more calcium (350mg) than an 8-ounce cup of milk (300mg)?
The nutrients in sesame seeds are better absorbed if they are pulverized, but eating them whole is by no means unhealthy.
Here are some simple ways to incorporate sesame seeds into your diet:
- Tahini, one of the main ingredients of hummus, is made from roasted sesame seeds and vegetable oil ground into a thin paste. You can also make a light salad dressing out of tahini.
- Sesame seeds can also be roasted, crushed and then sprinkled over salads. This will give you more variety and flavor than your typical salad.
- Add raw sesame seeds to any side dish to add crunch and flavor. For instance, you can add to vegetable or bean dishes.
- Sesame oil is a great option to try to incorporate in your cooking.
- Like almond milk and hemp milk, you can make your own sesame milk.
- 1 cup of sesame seeds
- 2 cups of water
- Soak 1 cup of sesame seeds in 2 cups of water overnight
- In the morning, blend the water and seeds until smooth
- Chill and drink (to retain the fiber) or
- Strain the mixture using a cheesecloth then serve
Lemon-Tahini Salad Dressing
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together and serve with greens or drizzle over cooked or raw vegetables like green beans and broccoli.
TELL US: What is your favorite use for sesame seeds?