You know sesame seeds: after all, burger buns wouldn’t be the same without these tiny, slightly crunchy, oil-rich seeds. But where do they come from?
Where Do Sesame Seeds Come From?
Sesame seeds come from an annual plant known as sesamum indicum, or benne.
Since antiquity, benne has been grown for its seeds, which are used as a food flavoring and as the source of highly prized oil.
Such was the popularity of sesame seeds that they were believed to have magical powers. That’s how the famous phrase “Open, sesame” came to be.
According to industry data, Sudan, Myanmar, and Tanzania are the world’s top producers of sesame seeds, followed by India, Nigeria, and China.
While they may be easy to overlook at the table, global demand for these seeds is growing steadily. Sesame seeds are extremely popular in Asia and Africa, where they are used for everything from hummus and sushi to marinades and sauces.
Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds
Part of the reason why sesame seeds are so popular is that they are surprisingly nutritious.
However, it must be noted that in order to enjoy the benefits of sesame seeds you would have to consume them in quantities larger than the few seeds sprinkled on your typical burger bun.
With that being said, the amount of nutrients contained in just one tablespoon (nine grams) of sesame seeds is still impressive:
- Protein: 1.6 g, 3% of DV
- Thiamin: 0.5 mg, 5% of DV
- Niacin: 0.4: mg, 2% of DV
- Vitamin B6: 1 mg, 4% of DV
- Folate: 8.7 mcg, 2% of DV
- Choline: 2.3 mg
- Calcium: 87.8 mg, 9% of DV
- Iron: 1.3 mg, 7%
- Magnesium: 31.6 mg, 8% of DV
- Phosphorus: 56.6 mg, 6% of DV
- Zinc: 0.7 mg, 5%
- Copper: 0.4 mg, 18%
- Manganese: 0.2 mg, 11%
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