Sesame Seed—An Important Food

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: In this 1955 article from Natural Food and Farming, Dr. Royal Lee extols the nutritional virtues of the humble sesame seed. With a composition similar to almonds but at a fraction of the cost, sesame seeds are “mainly protein and oil, with very little carbohydrate,” Dr. Lee writes, noting that “most of us tend to overdo on carbohydrates.” The protein in sesame is particularly rich in the hard-to-come-by amino acid methionine, he says, and the seed’s oil is high in fat-soluble vitamins and phospholipids. Dr. Lee suggests a number of ways to include pureed sesame (that is, sesame butter, or tahini) in our diet, including using it as the base of a salad dressing or ice cream or as a shortening in baked goods. He also commends the Middle Eastern candy halvah—a honey-sweetened confection made primarily of sesame paste—as the rarest of rare comestibles: a dessert that is a bona fide health food. From Natural Food and Farming, 1955.