Sesame seed [sesamum Indicum l.] is one of the most ancient oilseed crops known to mankind. In Nigeria, the crop which is commonly called benniseed is widely used for various purposes and is very popular in the central, North West, and North Eastern zones of Nigeria.
WHAT ARE SESAME SEEDS?
Sesame seeds are very tiny, brownishly colored, oil-rich, pods-grown seeds that grow on the sesamum indicum plant. Sesame seeds come with husks and it is edible, potentially rich medically. Sesame seeds medically guide the hearts against diseases like diabetes and arthritis, and their likes. The seeds come in off-white color but are generally brown when roasted.
WHO ACTION PLAN ON GLOBAL NUTRITION & SESAME SEED AS A PANACEA TO ENRICHED NUTRITION
WHO has guidelines for nutrition. This is for the fact that WHO placed a high premium on nutrition especially for the under developing and developing nations of the world owing to the high level of malnutrition and hunger in them. The WHO on her part is actively committed to partnering with the member states especially the under developing and developing states to guaranty global access to efficient, effective, and adequate nutrition plans for a healthy and sustainable balanced diet.
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THE PRIMARY USE OF SESAME SEED [BENNISEED]
The primary use of sesame seeds is as a source of oil for cooking. It is sometimes added to bread, including bagels, and on top of hamburger buns. It may be baked into crackers, often in the form of sticks. In Greece, sesame seeds are used in cakes, while in Togo, and Nigeria, sesame seed is the main soup ingredient.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SESAME SEEDS
The sesame seed is an important source of nutrients and can serve as a high-quality dietary protein source to meet nutritional requirements. One of the least expensive ways of increasing protein levels in the diet of low-income families is by encouraging the consumption of local indigenous edible seeds like sesame seeds.
Such practice has great potential in ensuring adequate nutrient and energy intake by infants, and poor settings where protein-energy – malnutrition [PEM] has continued to hamper optional growth and development.
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HEALTH BENEFITS OF SESAME SEEDS
The health benefits of the Black sesame seeds are so numerous to mention, however, below are a few of the health benefits of the seeds, thus:
1. RICH SOURCE OF FIBER
Sesame seeds are a rich source of fiber with about 3.5 grams when it is not hulled. Don’t forget that fiber essentially supports digestion and reduces the risks of suffering from heart diseases, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
2. SUPPORTS HEALTHY BONES
Both hulled and unhulled sesame seeds are seriously rich in nutrients like Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, and Zinc. These nutrients support healthy bones. Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, and Zinc are highly promoted in benne seeds when roasted, or soaked, or spouted.
3. ESSENTIAL FOR EFFECTIVE CELL FUNCTIONING AND METABOLISM
Sesame Seeds are rich in Thiamine [B1], Vitamin[B6], and Niacin[B3]. This is to say that sesame seeds are rich in Vitamin B. Vitamin B is essential for effective cell functioning, and metabolism.
4. SESAME SEEDS HELPS TO LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
Sesame seeds help to lower blood pressure. This is for the fact that high blood pressure is a very big risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Magnesium helps greatly to lower blood pressure. nutrients like lignans, Vitamin E helps to reduce or prevent plaque in the arteries and maintain stable blood pressure.
5. AIDS BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL
Sesame seeds aid blood sugar control. Basically, Sesame seeds are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. This alone can help to lower blood sugar. It contains a compound called pinoresinol that helps regulate blood sugar. Pinoresinol inhibits the digestion of maltose.
6. SUPPORTS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Another great health benefit s of Sesame seeds is that it supports the human immune system as they contain nutrients essential to the immune system. These nutrients are Zinc, Iron, Copper, Selenium, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin E. The human body naturally needs Zinc to develop and activate white blood cells.
7. SUPPORTS HORMONE BALANCING DURING MENOPAUSE IN WOMEN
Benne seeds as it is popularly called in Nigeria supports hormone balancing during menopause since it contains phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogen plays a wonderful role in women when estrogen levels drop during menopause.
8. CAN RELIEF ARTHRITIC KNEE PAINS
Factors like inflammation and oxidative damage to the cartilage which carries the joint are some of the factors that play a serious role in arthritis. With the sesamin compound contained in the sesame seeds, osteoarthritis is seriously addressed. Sesamin has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects that can soothe arthritic knee pain.
9. REDUCES CHOLESTEROL AND TRIGLYCERIDES
It lowers cholesterol and triglycerides which are risk factors for heart disease. With sesame seeds containing compounds like lignans and phytosterols lowering cholesterol is inevitable as it has cholesterol-lowering effects.
10. SUPPORTS THE THYROIDS
Sesame seeds support the thyroid. Thyroid glands contain enough selenium that plays a major role in making thyroid hormones. The seeds also contain iron, zinc, copper, and vitamin B6, this also supports the production of thyroid hormones.
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NUTRITIONAL COMPOSITIONS OF SESAME SEED [BENNE SEED]
As an authority in nutrition and after many years of research on the Sesame seed, we have come to discover the following nutrient compositions and profiles of this amazing seed. The nutritional profiles are:
- OIL AND FATTY ACID COMPOSITION
The quest for good and economically viable sources of oil has been of great concern due to the important niche oil occupies in society, nutritionally and economically.
Today, good and bad cholesterol is a global issue because of the health implications some of these regular oil has in cardiovascular diseases, as well as therapy for health diseases. Hence, there is a need to consume food and food products that contain good cholesterol, making the search for good oil an endless adventure.
Nigeria sesame seed cultivars showed an oil content of 47.45+3.95% which was in line with East Africa and Sudanese sesame accessions. The oil content of sesame seed was found higher than linseed [33.33%], soya beans [18. 35%], and palm kernel [44.6%] respectively and lower than jatropha kernel.
High oil content indicated that sesame seeds are suitable as edible vegetable oil, and processing oil from sesame seeds would be more economical than other seeds. The major fatty acid found in sesame seed oil where the:
- Linoleic oil
- Oleic oil
- Aicosanoic fatty acids
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Linoleic acid showed the highest percentage of composition of 45.7 approximately 1.9% followed by oleic acid with 35.7 approximately 1.5%, palmitic 9.2, approximately 0.5%, stearic 5.7, approximately 0.4%, alpha-linolenic 0.3 approximately 0.1%, and iconic 0.165 approximately 0.1% respectively.
The fatty acid composition of sesame seed has higher linoleic acid content more than palm oil, palm kernel, sunflower, and coconut, and soya beans oil. A high level of linoleic acids in oil reduces the blood cholesterol level and plays an important role in preventing atherosclerosis. The predominant fatty acid in sesame oil consists of polyunsaturated fatty acid followed by monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids. The unsaturated fatty acid constitutes 82%, while saturated fatty acid had 15% with a ratio of 5:1.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids are responsible for lowering the low-density lipoprotein [LDL] cholesterol. A polyunsaturated fatty acid is essential for normal growth and development and plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of coronary heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
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- AMINO ACID COMPOSITION
Sesame seeds were found to be an excellent source of seventeen  amino acids such as:
- Aspartic acid
- Glutamic acid
- Tyrosine, and
Therefore, sesame seed contains enough protein [20%], and essential amino acids needs. This implied that the amino acids composition in the seed of sesame has a lot of biological value and could contribute to meeting the human requirement for these essential amino acids.
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- PROXIMATE COMPOSITION
The most important features of the chemical composition of sesame seed are the:
- Comparatively high crude fat [58.38, approximately 2.04%]
- Carbohydrate [17.56, approximately 3.66%]
- Crude fiber [7.63, approximately 1.89%]
- Moisture [1.11, approximately 0.80%], and
- Ash [4.55, approximately 0.88%]
The ash content of this seed is comparable with that of other legumes, while carbohydrate content is at the lower side when compared with that of other legumes ranging from 23% in groundnut to 66% in Bambara groundnut. The lower moisture and ash content found in sesame seeds are an index of stability, quality, and shelf life.
- PHYTOCHEMICAL COMPOSITION
Sesame seed showed the presence of :
- Tannine 1.72 ± 0.50mg/100g
- Flavonoids 1.14 ± 0.52mg/100g
- Saponins 2.40 ± 0.93mg/100g
- Cynogenic glycosides 0.42 ± 0.19mg/100g, and
- Alkaloids 5.89 ± 0.82mg/100g
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WHAT ARE PHYTOCHEMICALS
Phytochemicals are natural bioactive compounds found in plant foods that work with nutrients and dietary fiber to protect against diseases. The presence of phytochemicals in sesame seeds indicates pharmacological activities and medicinal application.
HOW TO TOAST SESAME SEEDS SOUP
Preparing sesame seeds for soup is simply simple. As a matter of fact, benne seeds soup as it is popularly called in Nigeria is one of the most popular native soups in Nigeria. The delicacy is the toast of every traditional African family and the soup made during special occasions like the new yam festival, the Ozo title taking ceremonies.
Basically, there are two methods of Blending your sesame soup, wet or dry. Follow these simple steps to get your sesame seeds toasted.
SESAME SEEDS SOUP TOASTING INGREDIENTS
- Sesame seeds
- Dried or fresh catfish
- Roasted chicken
- Goat meat or Beef
- Grounded pepper
- Fresh palm oil
- Oil bean popularly called Ogiri by the Igbos in Eastern Nigeria
- Maggi seasoning
- A pinch of salt
- Any vegetable of your choice can go.
- Pounded yam
1. Wash your already hulled sesame seeds to remove sand and dry in the sun if you want to blend it dry or blend wet immediately after washing.
2. Add some quantity of water according to the measure blended and filter again to be double sure there is no trace of sand in the soup. This is for the fact that sesame seeds are usually very tiny and can hide lots of sand in them depending on the packaging processes.
3. Parboil your meat ingredients to fully get them ready for the soup and as well get other ingredients and seasoning ready to avoid delays or overheating the soup.
4. Place your sesame dissolved and filtered soup on the fire to boil for like 4Mins after which you add up your already prepared ingredients except for your vegetables.
5. Steam the soup until it thickens a bit or rather to how you want it. However, your soup will taste better if it is not too thick or too watery.
6. Add your vegetable when you are ready to carry your soup down from the fire, and your sesame seeds soup is ready to be served.
7. Serve your soup with either pounded yam, foofoo, or Semo vita.
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Sesame oil carries a premium relative to other cooking oil and is considered more stable and least prone among cooking oil, to turn rancid. My studies suggest that sesame seeds could be utilized as a potential source of oil as well as a good source of protein, amino acid, use drugs, and carbohydrate supplements for man and livestock.
Nigeria is richly endowed with favorable ecologies for sesame seed cultivation with the constraints of the non-availability of improved varieties of sesame seeds. This demonstrates the need to develop improved varieties of sesame seeds for farmers in the producing areas.
To avoid food shortages and famine, more attention should be focused on food crops. In view of the oil, nutritional, and medicinal values of sesame seeds