Like natto, sesame seeds are comprised mainly of protein, and are an outstanding health food. They also contain the brain-boosting vitamins B1, B2 and E. “Sesame seeds come in three varieties: black, white and gold. Each contain linoleic acid, calcium, iron and proteins with eight essential amino acids,” says Dr. Shiratori.

Linoleic acid controls cholesterol levels and keeps the blood clean, allowing oxygen and seven brain-essential nutrients to flow smoothly to the brain. At the same time, it also helps to invigorate the cells of the body. These benefits suggest that sesame seeds should be eaten not only for their benefits to the brain, but for overall health, as well. While unsaturated fatty acids like lenoleic acid tend to oxidize easily there is no need to worry––sesame seeds contain vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to prevent that from happening. Essential amino acids found in sesame seeds invigorate brain cells and help them to recover from fatigue. They are also important for building overall body stamina.

While not a dish in itself like natto, try to use sesame seeds as often as possible in your dishes to maintain your youth. “Despite their many benefits, sesame seeds are relatively difficult to digest. Eating too much can upset your stomach. Try grinding them or mashing them into a paste to more efficiently ingest the sesame seeds’ beneficial nutrients,” suggests Dr. Shiratori.

Black sesame seeds are superior to the white variety with regard to antioxidant and anti-aging properties. The black seeds contain less oil and more lignin, a type of fiber. Unfortunately, black sesame seeds also have a tougher outer skin. If eaten as is, they will be eliminated before the body has a chance to assimilate their beneficial components.

We suggest making your own black sesame spirits. Making your won black sesame seed spirits is extremely simple. Roast 100 grams of black sesame seeds in a frying pan. Allow the seeds to cool, then pour them into a wide-mouthed jar. Cover the seeds with one liter of shochu (distilled spirits). Place the jar in a large pot and fill the pot with water until it covers half the jar. Heat the shochu and sesame seeds until the mixture begins to boil. Remove the jar from the pot and allow the sesame seed spirits to sit overnight in a cool dark place. Drink one glass of black sesame seed spirits per day, mixed at a ratio of two sakazuki-fulls (sake cups-full) to ten parts hot water.

To be continued

(Translated by Roy Mashima)

(The information provided should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Consult your physician before attempting any new program. Readers who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of developing serious medical conditions.)

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