A year or two ago, I’d never even heard of tahini but now it’s a staple in my kitchen. In my opinion, it’s one of the most underrated superfoods out there; made purely from sesame seeds, it’s nutty flavour is rich, creamy and incredibly satisfying.
Not only does it taste amazing, it’s also filled with good fats, iron, potassium and magnesium whilst also being a complete protein, which is important for those following a plantbased diet. Because of its high fat content tahini is often seen as an unhealthy food choice, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Today I’m shining the spotlight on tahini with 5 reasons to eat more of the stuff and 5 delicious uses!
5 reasons to eat more tahini
- High in healthy fats and protein In comparison to other nuts and seeds, sesame seeds have a higher oil content but don’t worry, fat isn’t always bad! Tahini is rich in unsaturated fatty acids which help to reduce bad cholesterol whilst 60% of its total fat content is made up of the beneficial compounds – sesamin and sesamolin. Tahini is also a rich source of both omega 3 and omega 6, both of which aren’t manufactured by the body and so it is critical that they are sourced through diet as they are beneficial for both the brain and heart. Tahini also contains essential amino acids and is 20% complete protein, meaning that it contains more protein than milk and most other nuts and seeds – just 2 tbsp provides you with 6g of protein!
- Shiny hair and glowing skin Sesame seeds are a rich source of B vitamins, vitamin E and important trace minerals – all of which are essential for a glowing complexion and shiny hair. Tahini provides minerals such as zinc, which are needed to repair damaged tissue and produce collagen which provides skin with elasticity whilst also keeping it firm. Tahini also contains just about every type of vitamin B your body needs, which play a big part in healthy cell division and red blood cell health. B vitamins also contribute to immune health and nervous system health, all of which contributes to healthy skin and hair.
- Improves Digestion Whilst whole sesame seeds can be difficult for the body to digest, tahini is the exact opposite. Tahini is easily digested thanks to it’s high alkaline mineral content and also because tahini is made using ground sesame, it passes easily through the digestive tract – even helping to breakdown other foods which are thought to be trickier to digest. Therefore, tahini is highly recommended to those with digestive issues.
- Rich in vitamins and minerals Sesame seeds are very high in essential minerals including calcium, copper, and magnesium. A tablespoon of sesame seeds has 88mg of calcium, which contributes to bone health whilst copper maintains nerve, bone and metabolic health. Copper and calcium may have your bones covered but what about magnesium? Well, it helps in supporting both vascular and respiratory health. Tahini is also a great way to obtain B vitamins which are important for metabolic functions, dealing with stress and many cognitive processes and is also packed full of iron, helping to defend against anemia.
- Keeps your bones strong Calcium can be hard to get in your diet, especially if you avoid dairy, but Tahini makes it easy to up your intake. Whole sesame seeds contain 88mg of calcium per tablespoon, meaning that a quarter cup of sesame seeds provides more calcium than a whole cup of milk! A quarter cup of raw natural sesame seeds has 352mg of calcium whilst one cup of whole milk has only 291 mg of calcium. Calcium isn’t only vital in maintaining bone health though – it’s required by the heart, muscles and nerves in order to function properly and has even been proven to help with migraines.
A large tub of tahini lasts me around two weeks (yes, my obsession is that bad) but it definitely hasn’t always been that way. When I purchased my first jar of tahini, it was solely for the purpose of one recipe and after that I had no idea what to do with it. But now that I’ve become comfortable with it, I use it almost everyday (as you’ll know if you keep up with me oninstagram) as it complements both sweet and savoury recipes! So if you’ve got no idea what to do with your leftover tahini, look no further!
5 uses for Tahini
- Mixed with other ingredients for a healthy salad dressing, such as in my maple-tahini marinated kale.
- Drizzled over just about anything from sweet potato fries to avocado toast, falafels or quinoa! I especially love a good dose on top of my favourite roasted aubergine and tahini bowl.
- Don’t go thinking that tahini only works in savoury recipes – it’s so versatile that it can be used in sweet recipes too, such as my sweet tahini and fig energy balls or spread on a slice of apple with a sprinkling of cinnamon.
- Blended into a smoothie in place of your usual nut butter.
- Whizzed into hummus or other dips for the perfect snack alongside veggie crudites.