Let’s Talk @bout Sesame

Sesame seeds are tiny seeds that pack a nutritious wealth of minerals and vitamins. Sesame seeds are considered to be the oldest oilseed crop known to humanity. In Thailand, sesame seeds have long been grown and most prevalent in the form of black sesame and white sesame seeds.

Sesame seed is a common ingredient in various cuisines. It is used whole in cooking for its rich nutty flavour. Sesame seeds are sometimes added to breads, including bagels and the tops of hamburger buns. Sesame seeds may be baked into crackers, often in the form of sticks. In Sicily and France, the seeds are eaten on bread (called “ficelle sésame”, sesame thread). In Greece the seeds are also used in cakes.

In Asia, sesame seeds are sprinkled onto some sushi style foods.  In Japan whole seeds are found in many salads and baked snacks and tan and black sesame seed varieties are roasted and used to make the flavouring gomashio. East Asian cuisines, like Chinese cuisine use sesame seeds and oil in some dishes, such as dim sum, sesame seed balls (Chinese: 麻糰; pinyin: mátuǎnpinyin or 煎堆; Cantonese: jin deui), and the Vietnamese bánh rán. Sesame flavour (through oil and roasted or raw seeds) is also very popular in Korean cuisine, used to marinate meat and vegetables. Chefs in tempura restaurants blend sesame and cottonseed oil for deep-frying.

Sesame oil is sometimes used as a cooking oil in different parts of the world, though different forms have different characteristics for high-temperature frying. The “toasted” form of the oil (as distinguished from the “cold-pressed” form) has a distinctive pleasant aroma and taste, and is used as table condiment in some regions, especially in East Asia. Toasted sesame oil is also added to flavor soups and other hot dishes

The longstanding familiarity Thais have for this seed is exemplified in the proverb, “gua tua ja sook, nga gor mai” (literally: by the time the nuts are cooked, the sesame seeds will be burnt). Today, many people incorporate sesame seeds and sesame oil in their diet. It is primarily used to decorate food, an ingredient in desserts, as a seasoning and is as an ingredient in making delicious suki sauce, especially when sesame seeds are roasted until fragrant. As such, sesame seeds and sesame oil are progressively becoming a condiment that is truly well accepted in Thai society.

Health Benefits

Sesame seeds are an interesting plant because each tiny little seed is fully packed with important nutrients. It is composed of  protein, carbohydrates, as well as magnesium, copper, zinc, lignin, iron, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals. The fat content in sesame seeds are considered good fats, consisting of unsaturated fatty acids the body needs such oleic acid and linoleic acid. Moreover, there are two more important elements in sesame seeds: sesamin which can also be found in other plants and sesamolin which is only found in the sesame seed. The latter is known for its excellent anti-oxidant properties, which enables sesame oil to be stored for a long time without turning rancid.

Various health-giving properties of sesame oil are: Strengthens bones throughout the body, including teeth – Stimulates hormones that reduce blood pressure. – Prevents blood clots – Prevents build up of phorastalandin-E-1 which are cholesterol stimulating hormones, while stimulating the growth of white blood cells, also known as T-cells. – Reduces arthritic pain – Strengthens blood vessels and respiratory system – Prevents asthma attacks – Prevents paralysis, heart failure and heart disease-related complications due to diabetes – Prevents migraine attacks – Enables menopausal women with sleep disorders to sleep better – Prevents colon cancer, osteoporosis, migraine and menopausal symptoms – Reduces accumulated fat – Stimulates enzymes related to burn fat – Helps strengthen the liver and kidneys’ functions – Reduces pain and burning sensation – Prevents diabetes, tumours, chronic sores and has a relaxing effect Sesame oil is a vegetable oil known for its high nutritional value, energy and excellent properties that have been highly regarded for a long time, namely its smooth taste, no rancidity and its ability to retain its healthy benefits.


Beauty Benefits

Besides nutrients that are extracted from sesame seeds that strengthen the body, sesame oil can serve as a beauty product for both men and women. Sesame oil is chock full of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, biotin, choline, inositol, and para-mino benzoic acid. These vitamins help nourish the nervous system which tends to be relatively vulnerable to deficiencies, evident through symptoms such as insomnia, aches, fatigue and numbness. Additionally, linoleic acid helps the skin to quickly absorb and retain moisture. Other benefits of sesame oil include: – Prevents dry skin and helps skins glow radiantly. – Protects against ageing and slows the loss of skin elasticity – Stimulates hair growth. Makes hair dark, soft and shiny. – Strengthens and beautifies hair as it becomes healthier – Prevents dry hair and split ends – Increases blood circulation on the scalp – A potent anti-oxidant Clearly, there are numerous and fairly comprehensive health benefits gained just from eating sesame seeds in terms of health and beauty in every part of the body. However, beauty does not come from external factors alone but rather, happiness comes from within, through our thoughts and the knowledge we have in taking good care of ourselves as much as possible, by consuming food that are beneficial to our body. It is then, that we can see happiness and graceful beauty radiating from within.