What is Tahini and why is it terrific for our gut?
Tahini is a nut butter made from toasted, ground sesame seeds. It is commonly added to hummus to make a creamy, nutty taste. It is widely used in many Mediterranean and Asian dishes and also offers several health benefits: it is also very versatile and easy to add to your diet. As well as hummus (which is a healthy, protein-packed dip made with chickpeas and many other spices), tahini is a versatile paste that can be added to a variety of dishes or dips.
Tahini is full of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. One tablespoon, or 15 grams of tahini, has 3 grams of protein, 8 grams of healthy fats, 1 gram of fiber, and 3 grams of carbs. The healthy fats found in tahini have anti-inflammatory properties and help to reduce the risk of disease. Due to its high fiber content, which can bind excess cholesterol in the gut prior to it being absorbed, Tahini can help to lower cholesterol– especially when it is used as an alternative to high saturated fats, such as butter or whole-milk dressings and cheeses. Fiber is also important for digestive health, as it helps with constipation and bowel movements. More than just fiber and healthy fats, tahini contains the micronutrients Thiamine, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus, and Manganese which are all important for helping in digestion. Thiamine, also known as Vitamin B1, is a water soluble vitamin that can help prevent diseases in the digestive system, such as a disease called beriberi.
Some of the compounds found in tahini are highly anti-inflammatory. Anti-inflammatory agents help reduce inflammation in the body that can damage your health and lead to severe damage and disease. Prolonged inflammation can create a plethora of unwanted symptoms from chronic constipation to fatigue. Studies show that sesame seeds themselves have antioxidants and help to ease inflammation in animals, providing evidence for potential benefits when they are turned into a paste– when they are made into tahini. Tahini is also antimicrobial, with some countries using it as a healing balm for skin disease.
Making tahini is very simple. All you need are a few ingredients. Just toast 2 cups of hulled sesame seeds over medium heat in a dry pan till they are golden. Remove from heat and let the hulled seeds cool. Grind the toasted seeds in a food processor and slowly drizzle in 1 or 2 Tablespoons of avocado oil until a paste is formed!
Ways to eat it
Over time in storage, the oil separates; stirring tahini before using it is helpful to prevent this! Store it in the fridge to help extend its shelf-life. Tahini is a main ingredient in hummus, which is often used as a dip or spread: try making some and see how it tastes! You can also add it to appetizers, dressing, sauces, and desserts to add an earthy flavor.
Recipe: Tahini Balsamic Dressing
Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings):
1/4 cup organic tahini
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp water
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 small clove garlic or a pinch garlic powder
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 large date (preferred), pitted
1/8-1/4 tsp salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Blend all ingredients in a powerful blender until smooth. Alternatively, you can whisk the ingredients together until smooth (if you do this, use syrup in place of the date). The dressing will keep for up to 8-12 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
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Blades, N. (2019, September 27). Tahini: Health Benefits and Common Uses. WebMD.
Shoemaker, S. (2019, July 3). 9 Surprising Benefits of Tahini. Healthline.