Sesame seeds are probably the oldest cultivated culture on Earth. The record date up to 1600 BC. Sesame seeds are small oval and very tasty. They come in a variety of different colors including white, black, red and yellow.
Sesame seeds are rich in manganese, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B1 and zinc. Among these nutrients they are rich in two special substances which are sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances have a cholesterol lowering effect in humans. They also prevent high blood pressure. As sesame is rich with copper, using sesame on a daily basis can reduce some pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis. Copper is a trace mineral which important in anti inflammatory and antioxidant enzyme systems in the human body. Magnesium in sesame helps in preventing in asthmas airway spasms, it lowers the high blood pressure and restores the sleeping patterns. Calcium is for the most part found in the sesame seeds hull (some 51 milligrams) but that calcium is in a form of calcium oxalate. This form of calcium is less absorbent then the calcium found in the kernels (seeds without the hull). So, even if a person eats the sesame seeds without the hull, it is a question how much of calcium he or she is losing. If one can find sesame seeds in the hull, it is, of course, better to eat those because they contain more calcium, but how much more is sill questionable.
Older men and women would benefit much by adding sesame into their diet. The reason is that sesame is rich in zinc which regulates bone mineral density. It is thought that osteoporosis affects only women, but is also a problem for men.
Sesame contains phytosterols which is a compound in plants that resembles cholesterol. If it is present in the diet in sufficient quantities, it has a cholesterol lowering effect. Sesame seeds have the highest phytosterols concentration of all nuts. Close after sesame, are sunflower seeds, pistachios and pumpkin seeds. Of course, while eating these seeds, one must be careful and not to put much salt in otherwise they will lose their effect.
Sesame seeds can be used in a variety of ways. In Japan, there is a thing called gomashio. It is actually dry fried sesame and salt, grinned together and used like salt is used. Sesame seeds can be made into a paste which is called tahini. The taste of tahini is similar to peanut butter but it is more easily digestible.