The real reasons you should be eating more tahini
Tahini doesn’t really appear too appetizing — basically, it looks like boring beige sludge. There’s a lot more to tahini than meets the eye, though. This popular Middle Eastern condiment is made of ground sesame seeds, but according to mindbodygreen, “offers a richer, more savory flavor profile than your standard peanut butter. And it’s way more versatile.” While you may be familiar with tahini from the starring role it plays in hummus, it can also be used to make a tasty salad dressing or even add a subtle, earthy flavor to sweet baked goods. The best reason to add a lot more tahini to your diet, however, is the wide range of amazing health benefits it offers.
Tahini is heart-healthy
While sesame seeds haven’t yet had their time in the spotlight as a designated superfood, they nevertheless have their own special power: that of helping to lower cholesterol. A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that patients with high cholesterol who consumed 40 grams of sesame seeds per day for two months saw significant reduction in their levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. High cholesterol can lead to heart disease, which means that seeds, seeds could be just as good for your heart as beans, beans (and without such embarrassing side effects).
Tahini is rich in antioxidants
Sesame seeds contain two powerful (if unoriginally-named) antioxidant compounds called sesamin and sesamolin. Consumption of these antioxidants in the form of tahini can help to combat the body baddies called free radicals (well, excess levels of free radicals), which in turn may prevent or reverse the inflammation that can lie at the root of such devastating diseases as arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, and even cancer. One study referenced in mindbodygreen found that consuming 40 grams of sesame seeds per day brought about a significant reduction in the pain and inflammation suffered by patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Tahini is a great source of plant-based protein and calcium
A single tablespoon of tahini packs in 2.6 grams of protein, which, according to The Guardian, is a higher level than that provided by milk and most types of nuts. While sesame seed allergy is not unknown, it is still fairly rare in the U.S. (via Verywell Health), making tahini a potentially safer protein powerhouse than one made from tree nuts.
Tahini can also provide a significant amount of calcium, with each 2 tablespoon serving providing about 15 percent of the recommended daily allowance. This means that tahini will allow you to build strong bones and improve muscle and nerve functioning even if you’re living a dairy-free lifestyle.
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