Lynda: Tahini is made from sesame seeds which are soaked, toasted, crushed and ground into a delicious nutty paste. It’s highly versatile and a great alternative to peanut butter or any other nut butter especially if you are sensitive.
Sesame seeds are known as the “Queen of Oilseeds” due to its high content of natural oils, namely polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Sesame seeds are also a rich source of protein, dietary fibre, antioxidants, phytoestrogens, phytosterols, vitamins E and B, minerals (zinc, magnesium, phosphorus), phytates and lignans such as sesamin, sesamolin, sesaminol, sesamolinol. This unique nutrient profile ensures that this seed does not oxidise and become rancid easily like many nuts and seeds.
Tahini is a nutritional powerhouse with many health benefits in the body such as:
- Heart Health
- Helps reduce high blood pressure;
- Helps prevent blood clot formation and heart disease;
- Improves blood lipid profiles (triglycerides, LDL) ;
- Improves our antioxidant status which is protective to the heart;
- Is a useful treatment for arteriosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease characterised by fatty buildup in the arteries.
Sesame seeds contain phytoestrogens. Many have shied away from phytoestrogens because they can mimic oestrogen and act as oestrogen antagonists. However they possess many powerful health benefits too. Some of these are:
Hormone balancing in women over 50 or those with low oestrogen levels;
Relief and prevention of common menopause symptoms such as hot flushes, low sex drive and bone loss;
Maintenance of healthy, strong bones and prevention of osteoporosis and;
Prevention of certain forms of cancer such as breast and ovarian.
Sesame seeds are a great source of amino acids, vitamin E, B, zinc and healthy fats which help prevent early signs of ageing and revitalise the skin. It’s healthy fat content is anti-inflammatory and hydrating to the skin. Zinc is essential for hormone health, repair of tissue and the production of collagen, a protein that gives skin its firm youthful and elastic quality.
The sesamin in sesame oil has been studied for its ability to prevent the growth of various cancer cells, such as leukemia, multiple myeloma, colon, prostate, breast, lung, and pancreatic cancer. Sesame seeds improve our antioxidant status which has a cancer preventative effect.
Sesame oil decreases high blood glucose levels and is an excellent supportive food for those with diabetes.
Hulled or Un-hulled
Normally I would say go for the un-hulled however the seed coat contains oxalic and phytic acid. This makes it harder for the body to absorb the calcium, phosphorus and other nutrients found in the seed coat. The process of de-hulling may actually make these nutrients more available to us. Unfortunately there is very little research on which form is best.
Organic Vs Non Organic
Organic tahini is inexpensive so do yourself a favour and buy organic. This way you reduce consumption of pesticides and chemicals which inflame the body and disrupt our hormones and gut flora. Check the ingredients and purchase tahini with no added oils. Buy those that contain pure ground sesame seeds instead. Or if you are super keen. Make your own.
Tahini is strong in flavour and high in omega 6 so moderation is key. Aim for 1-2 tbsp per serve. Admittedly I am a bit partial to overdoing it.
Keep tahini in the fridge to preserve that deliciously rich, healthy fat content.
Texture and taste?
Smooth and creamy with a slight nutty taste.
Just how versatile is our humble friend?
Dressings and dips
Snacks and Dessert
Now over to you. How do you like to have tahini?
This article is brought to you by Lynda Griparic. She is a qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist, Writer and Speaker with over 14 years of experience in the health industry. Lynda specialises in gut health and weight loss. She has extensive experience in running healthy, effective and sustainable weight loss programs and has expertise in investigating and treating the underlying causes of weight gain, metabolic problems and gut disturbance. If you would like to book a consultation with Lynda, CLICK HERE