Unlocking the Nutritional Powerhouse
Tahini, a creamy paste made from ground sesame seeds is a versatile and nutritious ingredient! It is a staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Made from ground sesame seeds, tahini boasts a rich, creamy texture and a nutty flavor that adds depth to a variety of dishes. Whether used as a dip, a dressing, or a key ingredient in traditional recipes, tahini offers a delicious and healthy addition to any meal.
Not only does tahini offer a delicious flavor, but it is also packed with nutrients. It is a great source of healthy fats, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential for brain health and heart health. Tahini is also rich in protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, and magnesium. With its nutrient profile, tahini can contribute to a balanced diet and provide numerous health benefits.
Rich in Essential Nutrients
Tahini is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with essential nutrients that contribute to overall well-being. It is an excellent source of:
Sesame seeds are packed with high-quality plant-based protein, making tahini a fantastic choice for vegetarians and vegans seeking to fulfill their protein requirements.
Vitamins and Minerals
It offers a wealth of essential vitamins and minerals. Packed with calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and B vitamins, it contributes to bone health, energy production, and immune function.
Calcium, a key component of tahini, is crucial for maintaining strong bones and teeth. It also plays a vital role in muscle function and nerve transmission. Iron, another important mineral found in tahini, aids in the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. This can help prevent fatigue and promote overall energy levels.
Additionally, tahini is a rich source of magnesium, which supports hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. It helps regulate blood pressure, maintain a healthy heart rhythm, and support muscle and nerve function. Phosphorus, also found in tahini, is essential for the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth.
Lastly, tahini contains B vitamins, which are crucial for energy production and immune function. These vitamins help convert food into energy and play a vital role in maintaining a healthy nervous system. They also support the immune system, helping to protect against illness and disease.
Supports Heart Health
It is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are essential for maintaining a healthy heart. These fats have been shown to lower bad cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease. A study published in volume 355 of Atherosclerosis, 2022, showed that tahini consumption had been found to have positive effects on cardiovascular health and antioxidant levels in healthy men. G.K. Baxevanis and their team discovered that consuming tahini lead to a decrease in blood pressure and pulse rate, as well as an improvement in endothelial function. This groundbreaking research is the first to demonstrate the potential antioxidant properties of tahini. These findings highlight the potential benefits of incorporating tahini into a healthy diet for individuals looking to improve their cardiovascular health.
Additionally, tahini is a good source of phytosterols, which are plant compounds known for their cholesterol-lowering effects.
Aids Digestive Health
Tahini is a rich source of dietary fiber, which is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Fiber helps regulate bowel movements, prevents constipation, and supports a diverse and healthy gut microbiome. Additionally, the copper in tahini assists in the absorption of iron, further contributing to digestive health.
Promotes Bone Health
Calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus are crucial minerals for maintaining strong and healthy bones.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is primarily known for its role in building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. Magnesium is an often overlooked but equally important mineral for bone health. It assists in the absorption and metabolism of calcium. It is a co-factor for many enzymes involved in bone metabolism, including those responsible for synthesizing and repairing DNA, RNA, and proteins. Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body, and it works closely with calcium in bone health to form hydroxyapatite crystals, which provide strength and structure to bones and teeth. Phosphorus is also a component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the primary energy currency of cells. This is essential for bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) and bone-resorbing cells (osteoclasts) to function effectively.
Together, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus form a dynamic trio that supports various aspects of bone health. They work synergistically to form the structural foundation of bones, facilitate muscle function, and contribute to overall bone health. A balanced intake of these minerals through a healthy diet is crucial for maintaining strong, healthy bones throughout life. Tahini is a good source of these minerals, making it a valuable addition to a diet focused on bone health. Consuming tahini regularly may help prevent conditions like osteoporosis and support overall bone density.
Supports Hormonal Balance
Sesame seeds, the main ingredient in tahini, are rich in lignans. Lignans are plant compounds with antioxidant properties that can help balance hormone levels in the body. This can be particularly beneficial for women going through menopause or those with hormonal imbalances.
Provides Antioxidant Protection
Tahini contains various antioxidants, including sesamin and sesamol, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. These antioxidants play a role in reducing inflammation and supporting overall cellular health.
Tahini is a Versatile Culinary Ingredient
Tahini is widely known as a key ingredient in hummus, however, its versatility in the kitchen is often overlooked. This creamy and nutty paste can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, making it a valuable addition to any pantry. From salad dressings and dips to baked goods and desserts, tahini adds a unique flavor and texture that elevates a variety of recipes.
If you're looking to explore a sweet treat that takes advantage of tahini’s nutty flavour check out the delicious chocolate chip cookie recipe from Nadia! It can be found on page 95 of BELLY issue 01.
Jennifer Heard PhD is an experienced mindful health therapist who is committed to supporting individuals in leading healthy lives. With her expertise and dedication, she provides valuable guidance and assistance to her clients. Jennifer's approach is grounded in mindfulness, allowing her to help individuals cultivate self-awareness and make positive changes in their lives. Whether it's managing stress, improving diet, or enhancing overall well-being, Jennifer is there to provide compassionate and effective support.
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