Foundation Diet and Health

The best perspective for your health

The best perspective for your health

The best perspective for your health

The best perspective for your health

Black sesame seeds

Black sesame seeds are one of the oldest seeds. They are particularly rich in valuable nutrients and have a more intense flavor than white sesame seeds.
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Black sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum nigrum) are more aromatic than white sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are one of the foods riches in selenium and also contain a considerable amount of calcium. However, sesame is also a strong allergen, which is why it has to be declared on labels even if it is only present in the smallest amounts.

General information:

From Wikipedia: “Sesame (/ˈsɛsəmiː/; Sesamum indicum) is a flowering plant in the genus Sesamum, also called benne. Numerous wild relatives occur in Africa and a smaller number in India. It is widely naturalized in tropical regions around the world and is cultivated for its edible seeds, which grow in pods or "buns". The world harvested 6.2 million metric tonnes of sesame seeds in 2014, with Tanzania, India, and Sudan as the largest producers. ...

Sesame has one of the highest oil contents of any seed. With a rich, nutty flavor, it is a common ingredient in cuisines across the world. Like other nuts and foods, it can trigger allergic reactions in some people.

Sometimes sold with its seed coat removed (decorticated), this variety is often present on top of baked goods in many countries.”

Culinary uses:

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 (ficelle sésame, sesame thread). In Greece, the seeds are also used in cakes.

Fast-food restaurants use buns with tops sprinkled with sesame seeds. ...

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; 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.”

Nutrition:

“In a 100-gram amount, dried whole sesame seeds provide 573 calories and are composed of 5% water, 23% carbohydrates (including 12% dietary fiber), 50% fat, and 18% protein. Whole sesame seeds are rich in several B vitamins and dietary minerals, especially iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc.

The by-product that remains after oil extraction from sesame seeds, also called sesame oil meal, is rich in protein (35-50%) and is used as feed for poultry and livestock.”

“Sesame seeds contain the lignans sesamolin, sesamin, pinoresinol and lariciresinol.”

Health effects:

A meta-analysis showed that sesame consumption produced small reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Sesame oil studies reported a reduction of oxidative stress markers and lipid peroxidation.

Allergens:

“Sesame seeds and sesame oil are a serious allergen to some people, including infants. In Australia, the occurrence of allergy to sesame seed was estimated to be 0.42% among all children, while in the United Kingdom, the allergic reaction was found to affect 0.04% of adults. The occurrence of allergy to sesame in patients with some form of food allergy was found to be much higher than in the general population, ranging from 0.5% in Switzerland to 8.5% in Australia. In other words, allergy to sesame affects a small percentage of overall human population, but sesame allergy is high in people who already show symptoms of allergy to other foods.

The symptoms of sesame seed allergy can be classified into:

  • Systemic reactions: Primarily presenting anaphylaxis characterized by symptoms including hives (urticaria), lip and eyelid swelling (angioedema ) sneezing, nasal itching, congestion, rhinorrhea, wheezing, cough, tightness of throat, hoarse voice, difficulty in breathing, abdominal pain, unconsciousness, shock with drop of blood pressure. In the systemic reactions can also be included severe reactions like dizziness, drowsiness, chills and collapse as has been reported in patients after ingestion of a falafel burger.
  • Other symptoms: Facial or generalized redness ("flushing"), hives (urticaria) on smaller or larger parts of the body, swelling of the eyelids, lips or other parts of the face, itching of the eyes or of the skin in general, hay fever symptoms in the eyes and eczema. Respiratory symptoms observed include hay fever, asthma, cough, wheeze, or difficulty in breathing. Gastrointestinal symptoms: Itching in the mouth and/or tongue soon after chewing and ingesting (Oral allergy syndrome) and abdominal pain.

Amounts as low as 100 mg of sesame seeds or flour and 3 ml of oil can trigger allergic reactions in severe cases of sesame allergic individuals. Most patients, however, show allergic reactions after consuming 2–10 g of sesame seeds or flour. The onset of the symptoms may occur within a few minutes up to 90 minutes after ingestion of a sesame seed product. Most patients had other allergic diseases such as asthma, hay fever, and eczema, and most patients also had a relative with an allergic disease. More than two-thirds of the patients with sesame allergy also had allergic reactions to other foods.”

Processing of the seeds:

“After harvesting, the seeds are usually cleaned and hulled. In some countries, once the seeds have been hulled, they are passed through an electronic colour-sorting machine that rejects any discolored seeds to ensure perfect colour. This is done because sesame seeds with consistent appearance are perceived to be of better quality by consumers, and sell for a higher price.
Immature or off-sized seeds are removed and used for sesame oil production.”

Interesting facts:

“Sesame seed is one of the oldest oilseed crops known, domesticated well over 3000 years ago. Sesamum has many other species, most being wild and native to sub-Saharan Africa. Sesamum indicum, the cultivated type, originated in India and is tolerant to drought-like conditions, growing where other crops fail.”

“About 75% of Mexico's sesame crop is purchased by McDonald's for use in their sesame seed buns worldwide.”

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