Tahini. Hummus. Halvah. Sesame Crunch.
What do they have in common? Aside from the obvious (they are all made from sesame seeds), for me, it’s that I can’t seem to get enough of them. Once I start eating anything with sesame, I’m going to eat too much. Is there something about the sesame seed that is addictive? Is my body craving healthy fats and amino acids that I don’t get in the other foods I eat? What is it about sesame seeds that makes me want to keep eating them?
A quick Google search rendered a number of interesting articles about sesame seeds. It seems I am not alone in my love of sesame seeds. Freelance blogger Paula Widish wrote about her hankering for sesame seeds in her post Craving Sesame: Cover Your Buns with Vitamin T, where she also recaps some of the health benefits mentioned in an article by Royal Lee published in 1955 titled Sesame Seed – An Important Food.
According to Dr. Axe, Sesame Seeds Benefit the Heart & Lower Cholesterol, sesame seeds contain about 50 to 60 percent of two lignans, sesamin and sesamolin, are a great source of cholesterol-lowering phytosterols, and contain heart healthy fats.Sesame oil is rich in linoleic and oleic acids, and the amino acids lysine, tryptophan, and methionine. (Tryptophan is a precursor for seratonin, the “feel good” neurotransmitter.)
Sesame seeds have been reported to improve blood pressure, help to balance hormones, fight breast and colon cancer in post-menopausal women, and support healthy bones. According to the George Mateljan Foundation in the article Sesame Seeds, they are “an excellent source of copper, a very good source of manganese, and a good source of magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, molybdenum, and selenium.”
Although I haven’t found evidence that sesame seeds are addictive, I have found plenty of reasons to give into my cravings, at least every now and then. Some habits are worth keeping.