Beat the chill

Alisha Shinde
Sunday, 7 January 2018

Sesame seeds with their powerful flavour and therapeutic use, should definitely be included in your diet this season

With winter quickly setting in, food is what we turn to, to seek warmth and stay healthy. One food item which ensures this dual benefit are sesame seeds. Ayurveda says that sesame seeds generate heat in our bodies in winter and also help restore energy and vigour. Besides, in India, sesame seeds have been integrated into our daily lives as part of tradition, rituals and food factors. Hence, in a few days from now, we will be digging into sesame or til laddoos and barfis, as a part of Makar Sankranti festivities.

Let’s move on to its health benefits, for both kids and adults. It is advisable for children to include proteins in their daily intake because it helps in building and repairing tissues. Proteins also helps in fighting infections through antibody formation. Sesame seeds are rich in these proteins and help in the overall development of children.

“Sesame seeds are rich in fiber, which help kids when they are growing up,” says Dr Kiran Shinde, paediatrician. He adds that the seeds are a natural source of energy and have good antioxidants. “Black sesame seeds are powerhouses of iron which is why they are one of the most recommended home remedies for anemia as well as other iron-deficiency problems,” explains Dr Shinde.

Munira Sabuwala, wellness trainer, says, “Sesame seeds are power packed with zinc, potassium and iron. They can be consumed in any form including in a paste form, lightly toasted or even sprinkled on salads or vegetables of your choice.”

Sesame seeds are also a rich source of minerals and vitamin B1 and E, besides having anti-cancer properties. They also help reduce high blood pressure and contains phytosterol, which helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels.

Sabuwala mentions that sesame seed oil can be used in a number of ways. It can be incorporated in cooking food and can also be used as a skin conditioner when the skin becomes dry in winter. It can also be massaged on to the scalp for smooth hair.

“Apart from being really tasty they are also very healthy. But they should be eaten in limited quantities as they are full of heat and might not suit everyone,” she says.

Here, she shares one recipe made from sesame seeds...

Sesame seeds    140gm
Light olive oil    2 to 4tb
A pinch of salt
- Toast sesame seeds in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the seeds become lightly coloured. Transfer toasted seeds to a baking sheet and cool 
- Add sesame seeds to a food processor, then process until a crumbly paste forms.
- Add 3 tbsp of the oil and process again for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Check the tahini’s consistency which should be smooth and should not stick to the spoon.
- Taste the tahini for seasoning. Then add salt to it and process it for 5 to 10 seconds to mix it in well.

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