Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It is very versatile and can be used in cooking sweet and savory meals. What made it even better, it is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals.
There are two main types of tahini and these are hulled and unhulled. Unhulled tahini is known to be best because it is made from the whole sesame seed, which leaves its nutritional value intact. Hulled tahini is stripped of most of its nutrients.
Health Benefits of Tahini:
Boosts Immune System
Tahini contains four important nutrients, which include selenium, iron, copper and zinc. These provide the much-needed support to your immune system.
Copper and iron are included in enzymes that provide support to your immune system and also help in the production of white blood cells. While zinc helps in the development of white blood cells and helps them in their function of destroying germs. Selenium helps the enzymes in performing their role, including producing antibodies and antioxidants, as well as helping your immune system function efficiently.
Just with one tablespoon of tahini, you get 9-12% of the recommended daily intake of selenium, zinc and iron.
According to MedicalNewsToday sesame seeds contain the unique sesamol and lignans sesamin, which have been reported to lower cholesterol. Also, Nutrition Research published a study in which participants consumed 1.5 ounces of tahini a day. After 4 weeks, the participants’ average total cholesterol and LDL or bad cholesterol was reduced by 6.4% and 9.5%, respectively. The participants Subjects were then asked to return to their normal diets without tahini and 4 weeks later their cholesterol levels returned to their original level.
As discussed in the nutritional breakdown, tahini is rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Studies have reported that consuming these types of fats can help lower harmful cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. The magnesium and calcium content in tahini also work to decrease blood pressure naturally.
A study which was published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases reported that patients with knee osteoarthritis were given either glucosamine plus Tylenol twice a day, which is a standard treatment for osteoarthritis or 40 grams per day of powdered sesame seeds, which is comparable to 2 tablespoons of tahini.
The group that consumes sesame scored better on measures to test the inhibitions associated with knee osteoarthritis, did not experience the adverse side effects associated with Tylenol and reported less pain.
Improves Brain Function
Tahini is loaded with healthy omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids help in boosting the development of the nervous tissues in your body, which in turn helps in improving the health of the brain.
Also, it helps in slowing down the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Memory and thinking skills are enhanced when omega 3 is consumed. While manganese enhances brain and nerve functions as well.
Rich in Amino Acids and Healthy Fats
Compared to other seeds and nuts, sesame seeds have one of the highest oil contents by weight. That is why tahini is exceptionally silky smooth compared to other nut butters, such as almond or peanut butter.
Just a small amount of tahini goes a long way. It has a nutty rich flavor that comes through strongly in recipes, and tahini can benefit your hormones, heart and skin health even when you use just a small amount.
Most of sesame seeds’ fat is polyunsaturated fat, while a small amount is monounsaturated and saturated. About 50-60% percent of the fat within tahini is made up of two beneficial compounds which are sesamolin and sesamin.
Also, tahini contains linoleic acid, phenolic compounds, gamma-tocopherol, oleic acid and amino acids including tryptophan, lysine and methionine. Sesame seeds are around about 20% protein by weight, which makes them a higher protein food compared to most other seeds or nuts.
Sesame seeds are a good source of vitamin E, B vitamins, amino acids, fatty acids and trace minerals that all help with skin cell rejuvenation and preventing early signs of aging. You might not want to apply tahini directly on your skin, but just consuming tahini can help improve the integrity of your skin by boosting your nutrient and fat intake.
Sesame oil has been used to treat burns, skin wounds, dryness and sensitivities for years, that is why it is sometimes called the queen of oils. It is a natural antifungal and antibacterial agent, which means it kills bacteria that can clog pores.
Healthy fats in general are essential for skin health because fats are needed to lower inflammation and to keep your skin moist. Also, tahini provides minerals such as zinc, which are needed produce collagen that gives your skin its firmness, youthful elasticity and to repair damaged tissue.