Sesame is a primary source of phytonutrients such as omega-6 fatty acids, flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants, vitamins, and dietary fiber with potential anti-cancer as well as health promoting properties. Sesame
Sesame is a primary source of phytonutrients such as omega-6 fatty acids, flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants, vitamins, and dietary fiber with potential anti-cancer as well as health promoting properties.
Sesame plant requires well-drained sandy soil and tropical environment to flourish. It grows about 5 feet in height and bears plenty of pink-white foxglove-like flowers. The pods appear soon containing white, brown, or black seeds depending upon the cultivar type, arranged in vertical rows inside thin sacs. Each pod (2-5 cm in length) is a long rectangular box like a capsule with deep grooves on its sides. Each pod (1 to 2 inches in length) may contain up to 100 or more seeds.
Health benefits of sesame seeds
Flavorful, crunchy sesame seeds are widely considered as healthy foods. 100 grams of seeds carry 573 calories. Although much of its calorie comes from fats, sesame contains several essential health-benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins.
The seeds are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, which comprises of up to 50% of fatty acids in them. Oleic acid helps lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet which is rich in mono-unsaturated fats may help prevent coronary artery disease, and stroke by favoring healthy serum lipid profile.
The seeds are also valuable sources of dietary protein with fine quality amino acids that are essential for growth, especially in children. Just 100 g of seeds provide about 18 g of protein (32% of daily recommended values).
Sesame seeds contain many health benefiting compounds such as sesamol (3, 4-methylene-dioxyphenol), sesaminol, furyl-methanthiol, guaiacol (2-methoxyphenol), phenyl ethanthiol and furaneol, vinyl guacol, and decadienal. Sesamol and sesaminolare phenolic anti-oxidants. Together, these compounds help stave off harmful free radicals from the human body.
Sesame is among the seeds rich in quality vitamins, and minerals. They are an excellent sources of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and riboflavin.
100 g of sesame contains 97 µg of folic acid, about 25% of recommended daily intake. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis. When given to expectant mothers during their peri-conception period, it may prevent neural tube defects in the newborns
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