Benefits of SesameApril 11, 2016
This text is written by Sophie Geoffrion, nutritionist
A symbolic ingredient of our traditional Montreal bagels, but also of several other creations from across the four continents, sesame knows how to star in the kitchen and afford benefits health wise.
Sesame seeds come in three categories, each one contributing a unique note to all kinds of dishes, be it sweet or savoury. Whole, they embellish your baked goods such as bread and homemade muffins, they form a delicious crust on fish and shrimp and they add texture to green salads. You can dry-roast them a few minutes to release and enhance their full flavor!
Crushed, our featured ingredient transforms into a butter-like texture named "tahini". Combine it in a blender with a little bit of water, lemon juice, olive oil, a touch of maple and spices to create a delicious creamy sauce that will garnish vegetables, meats, falafels and sandwiches. Don’t miss out on trying tahini in Middle Eastern specialties such as hummus or baba ganoush, as a spread on your toast with slices of fresh fruit or as a nourishing garnish on your smoothie bowls or yogurt and granola.
Toasted sesame oil, on the other hand, will add a little punch to your vinaigrettes, marinades and Asian soups. But beware, the taste can be very intense, therefore very small amounts can be just enough.
Health wise, this coveted seed impresses by the diversity of beneficial compounds it contains: dietary fibers, good unsaturated fats, several vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. To get maximum benefits, purchase whole seeds (rather than peeled), although this feature is not always easy to identify on the packaging...
The phytosterol contribution of sesame is also a notable fact to mention. Consumed in sufficient quantity (2g daily) in the form of food and supplements, this plant material has the power to reduce bad cholesterol levels and contribute to cardiovascular health.
Finally, to prevent premature rancidity of your sesame seeds - a natural phenomenon that leaves an unpleasant chemical taste to oil products - keep them in an airtight container away from heat, moisture and light. The refrigerator is a good option, especially for peeled seeds whose lifespan is shorter. We also recommend you purchase smaller packages compared to large, to avoid them lingering in your pantry for a lengthy period!