Sharon Naluwende, a nutritionist at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, says two important food groups that one should have in their diet often are nuts and seeds.
These contain a lot of protein, calcium, minerals and Omega 3 fats.
Eating one teaspoonful of simsim daily helps to boost one’s energy levels.
According to Naluwende, simsim contains extraordinary quantities of methionine, tryptophan and amino acids, which are missing in most other vegetable protein sources.
The seeds are also important for a healthy liver and kidney.
Naluwende says a person can take any amount of simsim.
Nuruh Nalwanga, a senior nursing officer at Kawempe Hospital in Kampala, says simsim is rich in many trace minerals, such as iron, manganese, copper and other nutrients, which benefit the body.
Simsim prevents osteoporosis
Naluwende says simsim contains calcium, which helps to build bones, enhance bone density and lower the risk of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes a person to gradually lose bone density, making the bones fragile.
When the bones become fragile, they are more likely to sustain fractures, even in cases of minor accidents.
Dr Hassan Mayanja, a physician in Kampala, says when a person’s diet lacks calcium, the risk of osteoporosis is increased.
Thus, the calcium in sesame seeds helps to build bones, enhance bone density and lower the risk of osteoporosis.
Calcium also helps in regulating body metabolism.
Findings from a study published in the America Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a clear correlation between low dietary intake of zinc, low blood levels of trace minerals, and osteoporosis in the hip and spine.
Mayanja says simsim seeds are a good source of several nutrients that are crucial for rheumatoid arthritis.
According to Mayanja, eating simsim has been proven to bring relief to people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic disease that damages joints in the body.
This condition causes inflammation of tissues around the joints when mistakenly attacked by the body’s immune system.
The inflammation in the joints causes stiffness, pain, and swelling, among other symptoms.
Copper, a trace mineral contained in simsim plays a significant role in several anti-inflammatory and antioxidant enzyme processes.
Naluwende says simsim is a high source of unsaturated fats, which plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.
Also, magnesium contained in simsim increases chances of longevity and wellbeing in those who eat it, especially among people with asthma, heart and circulatory conditions.
Studies have shown that magnesium helps to lower high blood pressure, which can easily predispose one to stroke and heart attack.
It helps to prevent airway spasms in asthmatic patients and blood vessel spasms that can result in migraine headaches.
Magnesium also helps women experiencing symptoms associated with menopause to have normal sleeping patterns.
High dietary fibre, Naluwende says simsim seeds are high in dietary fibre and add roughage to the intestines, which improves bowel movements and helps prevent constipation.
Transport oxygen Iron contained in simsim helps in the process of respiration because it is used in the synthesis of haemoglobin.
Haemoglobin is the iron-containing protein in red blood cells that transport oxygen to the cells in the body.
According to Mayanja, simsim also contains proteins which help in repairing cells and building the body.
High in zinc, simsim seeds help in healing wounds and strengthening the immune system of the body.
Recent studies have also shown that calcium helps to provide protection to the colon against cancer-causing chemicals and reduce the symptoms that occur during menstruation.
How to prepare simsim
Naluwende says simsim can be eaten raw or roasted and may also be mixed with groundnut paste (odii) or sprinkled on cakes, buns, doughnuts and hamburgers.
One can add the simsim and groundnut paste to the sauce.
“Simsim is dried under the sun. Thereafter, it is roasted and grounded and can be mixed in the groundnuts,” she says.
If it is to be added to stew such as beef and fish, ground simsim is first mixed with cold water to form a thick paste. The paste is then added to the boiling stew.
The paste can be added to smoked meat, fish and vegetables to enhance their taste. This can be eaten with boiled cassava and potatoes or any other food.
For a drink, Naluwende says one can mix the ground simsim in cold water and then add the thick paste to boiling water and let it simmer for three to five minutes. Add milk and honey to taste.