Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are highly valued for their oil, which is exceptionally resistant to turning rancid. That famous quote from the Arabian Nights, open sesame, refers to the bursting open of the sesame seed pod when it reaches maturity.

A far less widely known aphrodisiac than oysters, but nearly as potent, are sesame seeds due to their high zinc content and because they’re rich in the amino acid arginine, which is involved in the making of nitric oxide, a compound that enhances blood through arteries and male body parts! And I don’t think that anyone would say that more blood flow to certain appendages is a bad thing!

Sesame seeds are also a great source of copper and manganese, and a good source of magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, molybdenum, and selenium. In addition to the sexy benefits of sesame seed consumption, they are also known to have beneficial affects on rheumatoid arthritis (copper), vascular and respiratory health (magnesium), and colon cancer, osteoporosis, migraines, and PMS through its calcium content, which is higher in unhulled than hulled sesame seeds.

And last but not least, are the high level of phytosterols found in sesame seeds, which are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance immune system response and decrease certain cancers. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published the amounts of phytosterols found in nuts and seeds commonly eaten in the United States. The results showed sesame seeds with the highest total phytosterol content (400-413 mg per 100 grams), followed by pistachios and sunflower seeds (270-289 mg/100 g), and pumpkin seeds (265 mg/100 g).