Sesame seed has been used as a condiment and a source of edible oil for over 5,000 years. Its use is as common as topping a sesame seed hamburger bun, sprinkled on a wide variety of Asian dishes, and studding crackers and sweets in South Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Caribbean cuisine.
What Is Sesame Seed?
Sesame seed is the seed of the sesame plant (Sesamum indicum). The plant is an annual herb with foxglove-like flowers that produce pods containing the edible sesame seeds. The pods burst open with a pop when the seeds are mature. The hulls are removed as they contain oxalic acid, which gives a bitter flavor. The seeds can also be pressed for sesame oil. Besides use as a condiment, in Asia, the toasted seeds are used to make sesame paste, which is often used as a peanut butter substitute. In Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine, the untoasted seeds are used to make tahini paste.
White and black varieties of sesame seed are available. The white has a delicate flavor and can be used in all dishes calling for sesame seeds. The black seeds have a richer flavor and stronger aroma and are best used alongside other bold ingredients so as not to overwhelm the dish. However, the choice of black vs. white sesame seeds is usually for the appearance more than the difference in flavor.
Toast sesame seeds to bring out their nutlike flavor. There are two methods: dry toasting on the stovetop and baking in the oven. The stovetop method is quicker; simply place an even layer of sesame seeds in a dry skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat until the seeds are golden and fragrant—about three to five minutes. Alternatively, you can spread the seeds on a cookie sheet and toast them in a 350 F oven for eight to 15 minutes, stirring often, until golden brown and fragrant.
Sesame seeds should be stored in an airtight container. Unrefrigerated seeds can be kept in a cool, dry place for up to three months. If you refrigerate the seeds, they will last up to six months; frozen ones will be good for up to one year. Sesame oil, on the other hand, is remarkably stable and will keep for years without turning rancid, even in hot climates.
Sesame seeds are rich in minerals; they are an excellent source of copper and a very good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus.
They have two types of beneficial lignan fiber that are not found in other plants. Three tablespoons of sesame seeds provide 3.5 grams of fiber (12 percent of the reference daily intake). Not only is this fiber good for digestive health, but it may also have effects in lowering bad cholesterol.
While sesame seeds have a high-fat content, it is primarily polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. These seeds can be a good source of protein, with 5 grams per 3 tablespoons. They have a very low glycemic index, meaning that they do not provoke a rise in blood sugar level after you eat them.
|Benefits of Legumes||
Primary BenefitsAs an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, protein and fiber, legumes are a highly satiating food. This means that for a relatively low amount of calories legumes make you feel fuller longer and, therefore, help prevent the hunger that can lead to unhealthy snacking and unwanted pounds. For about 115 calories, a 1/2-cup serving of cooked lentils provides about 9 grams of protein, 20 grams of mostly complex carbohydrates and less than half a gram of fat. It also supplies nearly 8 grams of fiber, or 31 percent of the recommended daily value. Most legumes contain significant amounts of insoluble and soluble fiber. Eating legumes several times a week promotes bowel regularity and helps keep blood sugar levels in check.
Secondary BenefitsLegumes are sometimes called “poor people’s meat” because they’re an inexpensive source of quality plant protein. They truly are an ideal meat substitute, however, because the vitamin and mineral profiles of legumes and meat are comparable. Whereas meat is also a source of cholesterol and saturated fat, however, legumes are a cholesterol-free food that contains virtually no saturated fat. For just over 110 calories, a 1/2-cup serving of cooked black beans delivers 32 percent, 15 percent and 14 percent of the daily values for folate, magnesium and thiamine, respectively, and about 10 percent each of the daily values for iron and potassium. Opting for legumes instead of meat two or three times a week promotes healthy cholesterol levels and helps protect against heart disease.
|Benefit of Nuts/Seeds||Nuts and seeds benefit your health by providing a source of dietary fiber. Fiber is a specialized type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods. It does not break down as it passes through your digestive tract, and the undigested fiber adds bulk to your stool to promote regular bowel movements. Fiber also helps slow the rate of digestion. This means that sugar from your meal enters your bloodstream slowly, leading to a gradual rise in blood sugar that leaves you feeling energized after you eat. Opt for flax seeds as an excellent source of fiber -- an ounce of the seeds contains a whopping 7.7 grams. An ounce of almonds boosts your fiber intake by 3.5 grams, while sunflower seeds contain 3.1 grams of fiber per ounce. An equivalent an serving of pistachios and pecans offers 2.9 and 2.7 grams,
A diet rich in nuts and seeds also helps keep you healthy as you age by preventing disease. People who regularly consume nuts tend to weigh less than those who rarely eat nuts, as well as face a lower risk for weight gain in the future. Nuts and seeds both help reduce the levels of inflammation in your body, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, which might reduce your risk of heart disease. Nut consumption also correlates with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
|Benefits of Seeds/Oils||Cardamom is packed with antioxidants. There are two kinds of cardamoms, green and black. Black cardamoms help in curing colds and cough and certain respiratory problems," shares Bangalore-based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood. Steep some pods in water along with honey and drink this cardamom tea as an effective natural remedy for flu. It imparts warmth to the body.Cloves can help protect your stomach from ulcers. Most ulcers are caused by thinning in the layers of mucus that protect your stomach lining. Preliminary studies show that cloves can thicken this mucus, lowering your risk of developing ulcers and helping existing ulcers heal.Curcumin has beneficial effects on several factors known to play a role in heart disease. It improves the function of the endothelium and is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant.
Sunflower oil is rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin E which help in promoting skin health. These vitamins act as antioxidants. They help in regenerating damaged skin cells and getting rid of the acne causing bacteria. The oil is light and non-greasy and thus, it gets absorbed in the skin easily without blocking the pores. Sunflower oil also acts as a natural moisturizer and helps in treating dry, sensitive skin.