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The benefits of sesame seeds and oils have long been overlooked, despite being a common ingredient in the Indian, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines for generations.
Make the humble little til the latest addition to your grocery lists and enjoy the many health benefits of sesame seeds and oils.
Just as Diwali celebrations would be incomplete without silver-foiled kaju katlis, and Holi without a tall glass of thandai, one cannot imagine Makarsakranti celebrations without sesame delicacies such as til ladoos, chikkis, and gajak. Yes, the humble looking til, also known as the, “queen of seeds” is essential to Indian sweets and savories.
In fact, many Indian festivals, religious prayers, and ayurvedic treatments would be incomplete without sesame.
Aside from its nutty flavour and satisfying crunchy texture, did you know this little seed is packed with many vitamins and minerals that are very beneficial to women?
The benefits of sesame seeds and oils have long been overlooked, even though they have been a common ingredient in the Indian kitchen and in other Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines for generations.
The most common health challenges that Indian women face today are heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, depression and obesity. There are many benefits of sesame seeds that help to improve these conditions.
There are two types of sesame seeds available in the Indian market, white and black or (kala til) and they are high in nutrients such as protein, fibre, and heart-healthy fats. These seeds are also packed with essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, vitamin E, and B vitamins.
Sesame seeds help lower oxidative stress and contributes to the prevention of health issues such as cardiovascular and neurological disorders, thanks to their antioxidant capabilities. Other benefits include –
Common symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods due to hormonal imbalances, loss of hair, mood swings among others.
Seed cycling is a naturopathic remedy that entails the consumption of different seeds at different phases of the menstrual cycle.
It is believed that some of these seeds are rich in estrogen and others in progesterone, and are consumed at different phases of the menstrual cycle to balance hormones.
Sesame seeds help increase progesterone required during the luteal phase (the second half of the menstrual cycle, around day 15th to 28th) and may help regularize periods among women suffering from PCOS.
According to studies, “sesame seeds and oils benefit postmenopausal women by improving blood lipids, antioxidant status, and possibly sex hormone status.”
Sesame oil is made from the seeds of the sesame plant (Sesamum indicum). Also known as gingelly oil, and is a popular cooking oil due to its hearty and nutty flavour.
The benefits of sesame oil are many in numerous because the oil is rich in healthy fats unlike many other common oils in the market. Sesame oil has been used in most Indian ayurvedic therapies for centuries.
According to research, eating a diet rich in these fats lowers your risk of heart disease. It may also help lower “bad” cholesterol like LDL and triglycerides.
Sesame oil has been utilized as an anti-inflammatory in traditional medicine in many Asian countries. Traditional Taiwanese medicine, for example, utilizes it to treat joint pain, toothaches, cuts, scrapes, premenstrual cramps, and other conditions.
The anti-inflammatory properties of the oil help heal skin redness, soreness. The oil works wonders for the dry skin, especially during winters, helping it maintain its elasticity.
Sesame seeds can be sprinkled on top of foods raw or roasted, or sesame seed oil or tahini can be used in a variety of recipes.
Like all seeds, sesame too has anti-nutritional factors such as phytochemicals that impede absorption of nutrients.
Thus, the best way to get the most out of your seeds is to soak them in water for 4-5 hours to reduce the phytic acid content. The seeds then can be added to smoothies, yogurt, rice dough, or vegetables etc.
Roasting – roasting is another efficient method to preserve and maximize the nutritional benefits of sesame seeds. Roast the seeds for 20 minutes on low to medium flame, one can add jaggery and ghee to make chikkis and ladoos.
Every food has a negative impact if taken in excess. All nuts and seeds are a high source of healthy fats, but they are high in calories nonetheless and should be taken in moderation.
Although there are many benefits of sesame oils and seeds, like all foods, they can lead to allergies. Common allergy symptoms include mild lip swelling, itching, acidity, irritating bowel movement.
People with a weak digestive system or diverticulitis should avoid consuming sesame.
Enjoy the benefits of sesame seeds and oils by trying out these recipes! Try these dips for your next house party.
Image Source: New Africa Studio and kerdkanno, via Getty Images, free on Canva Pro
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