I received an email this morning where someone was questioning me about the bio availability of the calcium in sesame seeds, so I thought it would be best to write a quick blog post for anyone else who is worried/wondering about this.
Sesame Seeds are little powerhouses of foods, as you get to know me more you will find out how much I LOVE seeds for their amazing nutritional qualities and life giving power. they have all of the energy in them to grow amazing plants, and lie dormant until they have found the right conditions. I love to activate my seeds to make them RAW LIVING FOODS, something that I will go into in future blog posts.
For me I say that I love to have food AS RAW AS CAN BE – What does this mean? Well there are certain foods that cannot be enjoyed when eaten Raw… Such as sweet potato or rice. For many reasons we may not be able to absorb all of the calcium in sesame seeds. I will discuss that in detail here.
Raw is definitely not the best way for grains, nuts, seeds and beans. . . the compound that keeps them dormant phytic acid/ phosporus. Studies on phytic acid reveal that for some people, the phytic acid in whole grains blocks calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron and copper. I wonder if that is what my reader was hinting at?
OK so the question I received from a reader of blog was:
“I thought the bio availability of Sesame Seeds was pretty low?”
Firstly thank you for sending me in this question in! I will address it detail below.
The controversy comes in two fold – firstly the phytic acid in seeds and secondly when we are looking at the whole seed versus the “hulled” seed – in this case we are studying sesame seeds. Hulled seeds are the seed minus its outer hull leaving just the kernel) The sesame seed calcium content drops from around 88mg (whole seed) to 37mg (hulled seed).
This looks like a substantial drop in calcium, however the hulled seed is the part that has the bio available calcium inside.
However from my research and experience it is best not to eat the sesame seeds raw in either case.
The whole sesame seed with the hull is the part that has the probable non-bioavailable form of calcium plus phytic acid – the enzyme inhibitors. This is due to the acidic – Oxilate qualities of the shell. Therefore there is some controversy about the sesame seeds with the shell. They do have more calcium, but it is in a form that is not as bio available and the oxalate consumed in high doses can form kidney stones.
From my perspective I would say go for the hulled version and sourcing a good quality organic brand of sesame seeds. Then soak/ cultrure/ activate the seeds. I feel this is the key to delivering the best life giving nutrition possible from all seeds, nuts and legumes – not just sesame seeds.
Tahini and Sesame Butter are normally made from the hulled seeds – however whole unhulled seeds have a bitter taste and can be found in some middle eastern stores. Most sesame seeds and sesame butters do not have the hulled status on the jars. You could call the company to find out more information or make your own cultured sesame butter.
The best way to eat sesame seeds to preserve nutrient value
Sprouted and not roasted is the key. Roasting will break down some of the outer shell and make the calcium more bio-available, but kill a lot of the life giving enzymes.
Sprouting increases the living energy of the food and eating raw living foods gives us the life energy that we desire from our foods. We just need to re-learn how to do this. A lot of these processes were normal every day practices of our ancestors. As we have become more distant from our foods and consumed ever increasing packaged store bought food we have forgotten
Facts about Sesame Seeds
Unhulled (whole) Sesame seeds have their high oxilate phytic acid coating
To get the most out of these foods they should be cultured, sprouted and soaked
1/2 Cup = more calcium than a glass of milk
Sesame Seeds are high in calcium: great for bones and also for PMS and migraines.
The phytic acid that keeps the seed dormant can upset our tummies.
Sesame Seeds Nutrition Facts
The %DV in a quarter cup of sesame seeds
Vitamin B12 3%
Sesame seeds Glycemic Index (GI) – Very Low!
(Nutrient information taken from ESHA Research)
As you can see Sesame Seeds are very nutritious – and great for vegan nutrition – we simply need to know how to eat them.
How to Consume Sesame Seeds
Soaked sesame seeds
Sprouted sesames seeds
Roasted sesame seeds
Great in Sushi rolls/ Ongari (rice balls)
Add to rice
Add to steamed veg
Bread (however I am not a fan of bread or baked goods at all – that is another story)
Use in condiments: dips, sauces and spreads