Sesame seeds add a nutty taste and a delicate crunch to many Asian dishes. They are also the main ingredients in tahini (sesame seed paste) and the Middle Eastern sweet call halvah. They are available throughout the year and highly valued for their oil which is exceptionally resistant to rancidity. The scientific name for sesame seeds is Sesamun indicum.

Not only are sesame seeds an excellent source of copper and a very good source of manganese, but they are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber. In addition to these important nutrients, sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage.

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