Tahini is a paste that is made by finely grinding sesame seeds in order to release their oil content. It is very easy to include in the diet and is best known as one of the main ingredients in hummus. Read on to learn more about the health benefits of tahini.
Tahini may be made from hulled or unhulled sesame seeds. The tahini made with unhulled seeds is richer in vitamins and minerals but it is darker and has a stronger flavour, so it may not suit some recipes. Because the sesame seeds are ground into a paste, tahini is easy to digest, and within half an hour of consuming it, the body is provided with a balanced supply of energy, vitamins, and minerals.
Tahini is a nutritional powerhouse, being high in vitamins E, F and T, as well as vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B15, biotin, and choline. It is also a source of vitamin A. Tahini is also 20 percent complete protein – making it a richer protein source than milk, soya beans, sunflower seeds, and most nuts.
Tahini is one of the highest sources of methionine, an essential amino acid, and also contains lecithin, which reduces the levels of fat in the blood and also protects against environmental toxins such as nicotine. Tahini is also high in minerals such as magnesium, potassium, iron, and phosphorus, and is an excellent source of calcium. In fact tahini is claimed to be the best source of calcium there is and, unlike the dairy products that supply calcium in the western diet, it is not mucus forming.
Tahini is very high in oil, over 50 percent. However, despite being high in fat, most of the oil is unsaturated fat, which is much healthier for the body. Even though it is high in oil, tahini keeps very well and will not go rancid, even if it is not refrigerated after opening. This is because sesame seeds contain the natural preservatives sesamin and sesamol, which stabilise it.