Amazing Facts About Tahini
By now, you would have probably heard of it, bought it, and might have it in your pantry as a staple item, but let's dive quickly into the world of Tahini and see what a fantastic food item is a must-have in every pantry in Australia.
Tahini is a sesame paste made from roasted hulled or un-hulled sesame seeds. Ground to a fine creamy paste, nutty in flavour, yet does not have the sweetness of other nuts.
Historically, sesame seeds were among the earliest crops cultivated by humanity, dating back over 5,000 years. Tahini has been a staple in the cuisines of the Levant, ancient Egypt, and many parts of Asia, including India, where it was cherished for its nutritional value and versatility. Over the centuries, Tahini spread its influence across the culinary world, becoming a cherished ingredient in countless dishes and a symbol of cultural exchange.
So why should Tahini be a staple item in your diet?
The simple answer is because of its exceptional nutritional values and versatility:
In many corners of the world, Tahini is called a nutritional powerhouse, and many call it a super-food for its outstanding nutritional benefits:
Nutrient-Rich Powerhouse: Tahini is a nutritional powerhouse boasting an array of essential nutrients. Sesame seeds are loaded with vitamins and minerals. They are a significant source of vitamin B1 (thiamine), which aids in energy metabolism, B3 (niacin) for heart health, B5 (pantothenic acid) for cellular function, and B6 (pyridoxine) for brain development. These vitamins are crucial in various bodily functions, from maintaining healthy skin to supporting nerve function.
Heart-Healthy Fats: Tahini's fat content primarily consists of heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fats have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, improved cholesterol levels, and inflammation reduction. The balanced fatty acid profile promotes cardiovascular health and overall well-being.
Protein Packed: Besides healthy fats, Tahini is an excellent source of plant-based protein, making it an indispensable addition to vegetarian and vegan diets. Just two tablespoons of Tahini can provide around 5 grams of protein. Protein is essential for muscle repair, immune function, and overall growth and development.
Bone Health: Tahini is a surprising source of calcium, a mineral crucial for strong bones and teeth. Two tablespoons of Tahini contain approximately 130 mg of calcium, equivalent to 10% of the daily recommended intake. Regular consumption of Tahini can help maintain bone density and prevent conditions like osteoporosis.
Antioxidant Properties: Tahini contains antioxidants, including lignans and vitamin E, which help combat oxidative stress and free radicals in the body. These antioxidants can reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular issues by protecting cells from damage.
Digestive Aid: Tahini is a good source of dietary fibre, with about 1 gram per tablespoon. Dietary fibre supports healthy digestion by promoting and nourishing beneficial gut bacteria. A healthy gut microbiome is essential for overall wellness and can influence mental health. Read more about why a healthy gut is essential here.
Blood Sugar Control: With its low glycemic index, Tahini contributes to maintaining stable blood sugar levels. Foods with a low glycemic index release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, preventing sudden spikes and crashes in energy. This property makes Tahini a suitable addition to diabetic diets and helps individuals maintain sustained energy levels throughout the day.
8. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits: Tahini is not just a delight for your taste buds; it's also a powerful ally in reducing inflammation within the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to various health issues, including autoimmune diseases, arthritis, and heart disease. Tahini contains compounds like sesamin and sesamol, which have demonstrated anti- inflammatory properties. These compounds help inhibit the production of inflammatory molecules, thus potentially mitigating the risks associated with chronic inflammation.
9. Copper, a Hidden Gem: while required in smaller quantities, is vital for the proper functioning of the body. 15 grams of Tahini contains 27% of the recommended daily intake for copper, which plays a crucial role in various physiological processes. This essential mineral assists in the formation of red blood cells, supports the immune system, and helps maintain healthy bones and connective tissues. Furthermore, copper acts as an antioxidant, working with other antioxidants found in Tahini to combat free radicals and oxidative stress. While it might not be the star nutrient, the presence of copper in Tahini underscores its status as a well-rounded and nutritious food choice that contributes to your overall health.
Incorporating Tahini into your daily diet can benefit individuals struggling with inflammatory conditions. Tahini may alleviate symptoms, improve joint mobility, and contribute to overall well-being by reducing the body's inflammatory response. So, whether you drizzle it on your salads or mix it into your sauces, Tahini can be a delicious and healthful way to combat inflammation from the inside out.
Well, if this convinces you to add Tahini as a staple item to your diet, then these are eight ways you can enhance your culinary experience with Tahini:
Classic Tahini Dip: Mix an equal amount of Tahini and water, add lemon juice to taste, and a pinch of salt to create a simple yet flavorful tahini dip. This versatile dip pairs perfectly with fresh veggies, pita bread, or as a drizzle for falafel. You can personalise your dip by adding your preferred spice such as Thym, Paprika or other seasoning. You can replace the store-bought condiments and use Tahini Dip with your favourite food.
Dip Enhancement: Elevate your baba ghanoush, Hommus, or any dip for that matter, by adding a dollop of Tahini to the roasted eggplant, chickpeas, or any roasted vegetables with garlic (optional) and lemon mixture. The Tahini lends creaminess and a delightful nutty undertone to your favourite homemade dips.
Creamy Salad Dressing: Whip up a creamy and nutritious salad dressing by combining Tahini with olive oil, lemon juice, and your choice of herbs and spices. It's an excellent alternative to traditional salad dressings and provides a unique depth of flavour.
Baking Bliss: Incorporate Tahini into your baking recipes for added richness and flavour. From cookies to muffins, Tahini can be a delightful replacement for or in addition to nut butters or other fats.
Smoothie Booster: Enhance the nutritional value of your morning smoothie by adding a spoonful of Tahini. Pair it with bananas, dates, or cocoa for a creamy and indulgent twist.
Sweet Treats: Tahini's versatility extends to the realm of desserts. Use it to create a delectable halva or tahini fudge by combining it with dates, maple syrup or melted chocolate. These treats are a delightful balance of sweetness and nutty goodness.
Thinning Agent for Baking: Dilute Tahini with water to create a creamy, dairy-free base for baking. Use it in cakes, brownies, or muffins to replace traditional milk or yogurt, keeping your baked goods moist and rich in flavour.
Tahini Marinades: Use Tahini as a key ingredient in marinades for tofu or vegetables. The rich, nutty flavour of Tahini complements various seasonings and can infuse your dishes with a unique and savoury taste.
With Tahini, there are two considerations that you need to keep in mind:
1. Allergies: While rare, some individuals may have an allergic reaction to sesame seeds. It is advisable to consult a healthcare professional if you suspect an allergy or have a known sesame seed allergy.
2. Calorie Density: Tahini, though healthy, is calorie-dense. Moderation is key, especially for individuals watching their calorie intake or aiming for weight loss.
At Syndian, Tahini is a staple ingredient. You will find it in most dips like hommus Baba-ganoush pumpkin hommus; many of the burgers like Lentil Burger, Brown Rice and Veggie burgers and the wholegrain range; and ready-made meals.