Sesame seeds have long been used as a condiment to various dishes, and in fact, these seeds may be the oldest condiment ever known to man. The sesame seed pod bursts open when it is already matured; this unique feature of sesame seeds is reflected in the famous phrase "open sesame". Sesame seeds are known scientifically as Sesamum indicum.
Sesame seeds are also rich in magnesium; each serving contains approximately 31.5% magnesium. Magnesium is a respiratory and vascular health-supportive mineral.
Based on studies, magnesium helps prevent spasms of the airway symptomatic of asthma, lowers high blood pressure that triggers diabetic heart disease, stroke, and heart attack, prevents the trigeminal blood vessel spasm that triggers migraine, and restores the normal sleep patterns in menopausal women.
Sesame seeds also contain a rich supply of calcium; each serving contains approximately 35.1% calcium. Based on recent studies, calcium in sesame seeds helps prevent colon cancer, helps prevent osteoporosis that may result from menopause or rheumatoid arthritis, helps prevent migraines in people who suffer from them, and helps reduce PMS symptoms in women.
One interesting fact about sesame seeds is that the calcium content of whole sesame seeds or unhulled sesame seeds is significantly different to that of sesame seed kernels or hulled sesame seeds. One tablespoon of unhulled sesame seeds contains approximately 88 mg calcium while that of hulled sesame seeds contains approximately 37 mg or approximately 60% less.
Each tablespoon of whole sesame seeds contains an additional 51 mg of calcium provided by the seed hulls. However, this calcium content which is in calcium oxalate form is different from that in sesame seed kernels and less absorbable. Although hull-containing sesame butter or sesame seeds provide more calcium, their place in oxalate-restricted diets would be an area of concern.