The small, cream-white sesame seed is used whole in cooking for its rich nutty flavour. Sesame seeds are sometimes added to breads, including bagels and the top of hamburger buns. Sesame seeds are baked into crackers , often in the form of sticks. Sesame oil was the preferred cooking oil in India . Sesame flavour also very popular in Korean cuisine , used to marinate meat and vegetables. The seeds are rich in manganese , copper , and calcium and contain Vitamin B1 (thiamine) and Vitamin E (tocopherol) .
They contain powerful antioxidants called lignans, which are also anti-carcinogenic. They also contain phytosterols , which block cholesterol production. Sesame contains one lignan unique to it called sesamin . The nutrients of sesame seeds are better absorbed if they are ground or pulverised before consumption. Sesame oil is used for massage and health treatments of the body in the ancient Indian ayurvedic system with the types of massage called abianga and shirodara . Ayurveda views sesame oil as the most viscous of the plant oils and as such good at pacifying the health problem associated with vata aggravation.