One of the foods recommended in Ayurveda during winters is sesame seed. Sesame seeds are a power house of nutrients.
Seeds contain all the starting materials necessary to develop into complex plants. Because of this, they are extremely nutritious. When consumed as part of a healthy diet, seeds can help reduce blood sugar.They are a good source of energy due to the high fat content. Seeds like sesame, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds are great sources of fiber. They also contain healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and many important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Sesame seeds in particular have shown to have benefits in clinical studies. Post menopausal women showed lower incidence of heart disease and breast cancer when they regularly consumed sesame seeds(about 50 g daily)1. Sesame seeds have also shown to be beneficial in osteoarthritis reducing inflammation levels significantly1.
In India this time of the year, almost every region of India celebrates the arrival of the new year by making some kind of sweets using sesame seeds and jaggery. These are said to be ‘warming’ to the body.
It was kind of a coincidence that I had just been reading up more about ‘seed cycling’ and how it can be beneficial in balancing hormones in all women regardless of their age group – premenopausal, menopausal and post menopausal. And then I suddenly realized that ‘Sankrant’ an auspicious winter festival celebrated in different parts of India was a couple days away. Sesame seed laddoos are traditionally made during this festival. I make the sesame honey brittle every year. This time I thought of making it in a different way where I used them ‘raw’ in the recipe as raw seeds have the most beneficial value where the polyunsaturated fats do not get damaged.
This is a quick and easy recipe and the balls (ladoos) tasted great. They do have a slight (very slight) bitterness but the cashews give them an additional richness and together they make for an indulgent snack that is loaded with health benefits!
Btw, you can read more about ‘seed cycling’ in this excellent article by Dr Jolene Brighten.
Do try making these balls – they taste wonderful and have amazing benefits.
- ½ cup raw white sesame seeds
- ½ cup whole cashew nuts (measured as whole)
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup (use maple syrup for vegan)
- 2 whole cardamoms peeled or ¼ tsp ground cardamom (optional)
- In a food processor, add all the ingredients and pulse for 20-30 secs until you get a thick powdery mass. Do not over process (otherwise you will get nut and seed butter)
- transfer to a plate and make balls using your hands. Toss the balls in the extra sesame seeds to coat them.
- Makes 10 balls.
- Stop in an air tight container at room temperature for 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for 8-10 days.