The nutritional profile of sesame seeds is outstanding and, in my opinion, greatly underestimated. They have been gown for food for more than 3000 years.
Sesame seeds contain high amounts of protein, fiber and oil, which is rich in omega-6 (linoleic acid) and oleic acid. They are also high in B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, and zinc.
Most people consider steak an excellent source of iron. According to the USDA steak contains about 1.5 mg of iron per 100 grams. But sesame seeds contain a whopping 14.8 mg of iron per 100 grams.
Compared to most other foods, sesame seeds contain considerably higher amounts of magnesium. Dark chocolate is said to be an excellent source of magnesium. According to the USDA nutrient data charts, dark chocolate solids (70-85% cacao) contain 228 mg of magnesium per 100 grams but sesame seeds contain 356 mg of magnesium per 100 grams.
If I find a client deficient in phosphorous after they take a nutritional profile, my number one recommendation for increasing their phosphorous intake is adding sesame tahini to their diet. According to the USDA nutrient data charts, sesame seeds contain 638 mg of phosphorous per 100 grams which is approximately three times higher than beef.
When it comes to calcium, most people think of cow’s milk as a good source. However, according to the USDA, there are 113 mg of calcium in 100 grams of whole milk while sesame seeds contain a whopping 989 mg of calcium per 100 grams.
Sesame seeds are very high in lignans. There are several extraordinary lignans in sesame seeds (pinoresinol, sesamin, sesamolin and lariciresinol. Among the numerous health benefits of lignan consumption, epidemiological studies have shown that lignan consumption is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer.
According to the USDA raw beef contains 22 grams of protein per 100 grams. Sesame seeds are not far behind containing 17 grams of protein per 100 grams.
Followers of the macrobiotic diet and the Japanese have been using a sesame seed product called gomashio that is made from un-hulled toasted sesame seeds mixed with sea salt. The gomashio used in the macrobiotic diet usually contains quite a bit less salt than traditional Japanese gomashio. To add extra flavor and nutrition to your food, try adding gomashio instead of just salt.
Sesame seeds have one of the highest oil contents of any food. But due to sesame oil’s lack of omega-3 fats and high content of omega-6 fats, I don’t recommend regular consumption of the extracted oil.
This is because the average person and even healthy eaters usually over consume omega-6 fats and under consume omega-3 fats due to their scarcity in the food chain. This can cause an out of balance omega-6 to omega-3 ratio and lead to inflammation in the body unless omega-3 supplements are taken. I suggest sticking to products made from the whole seed.
Sesame seeds can be purchased two ways, with the hulls on and with the hulls removed. I personally prefer un-hulled sesame seeds because the hulls contain nutrients and fiber. But both hulled and un-hulled are healthy.
Sesame seeds come in a variety of colors including tan, gold, brown, black, reddish, grey and white. If you’re trying to increase your nutrient intake, you might try sprinkling raw sesame seeds on your food and adding sesame tahini to your diet. Sesame seeds have a rich nutty flavor and, in my opinion, are quite tasty.
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