White Sesame vs Black Sesame

It’s that time of the year. Or will be in couple of days when we welcome a seed to  our homes: sesame seeds (til) . During Makar Sankranti we will share sweets made of sesame seeds among friends and relatives. For Makar Sankranti marks the arrival of Spring and auspicious harvest time. It is the day the Sun, embodying knowledge, wisdom and divinity, rotates the wheel of time entering into the northern hemisphere and moves into the zodiac Capricorn.

A recent ad by Cadbury splashed all over Mumbai plays on “god god bola”. Originally in Marathi it’s “Til Gud Kha. God God Bola” (Meaning eat sweets made of sesame seeds and jaggery and exchange sweet notes).

I have always wondered why we are biased towards white sesame seeds knowing well that black sesame seeds have more healthy properties than its white cousin. May be because black sesame seeds are unhulled and have a bolder flavour and aroma. May be black sesame seeds are crispier with a more nutty and smoky flavour, while white sesame seeds are soft with a duller but sweet flavour. Black sesame seeds and white sesame seeds are similar in nutrition, although because black sesame seeds retain their hulls they are higher in calcium. Both seeds are a good source of zinc, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine, along with iron.

According to Dr.Savitha Suri, an ayurvedic Consultant Physician quoted in ayurhelp.com sesame seeds have hot potency (ushna).

As a high-protein food source, sesame seeds are rich in several amino acids. They contain at least 10 percent DV of 10 important amino acids. Of these, the seeds are highest in cysteine, an amino acid responsible for breaking down environmental toxins in your body, which helps your system fight off colds and bronchial illness—associated with winter months. .

“Sesame normalizes vata and vitiates pitta and kapha. It has properties of “Yogavahi” . Yogavahi is a substance which has a quality of penetrating the deepest tissues. When sesame is processed with other herbs it normalizes all the three doshas.  Hence this is used in diseases arising due to vitiation of vata. And it can also be used in diseases caused due to vitiation of tridoshas, “says Dr Suri.

Sesame seeds are bone builder (2 tablespoons meets 40 percent of the daily value for calcium, or 400 mg), blood builder ( 2 tbsp contains 3.6 mg of iron) and good for your heart ( 2tbsp contains 3 gm of fibre, meeting 18 percent of the daily value for fibre for a 2000-calorie diet).

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