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Tahini is a type of thick sauce or paste made from oil and ground sesame seeds. The condiment has a natural nutty flavor and comes with various nutritional benefits. It is also called sesame seed butter. This protein-rich paste is extremely versatile in nature and can be used in cooking sweet and savory dishes. It is a condiment often used in Turkey, Israel, North Africa, and various other countries.

Fast facts about tahini:

  • Tahini is a paste or butter made from ground sesame seeds.

  • It is a key ingredient in hummus and in baba ghanoush, an aubergine dip.

  • It provides good amounts of protein and various minerals.

  • Tahini is also high in calories, and it should be eaten in moderation.

  • The lectin content in tahini may cause leaky gut by restricting the proper absorption of nutrients.

  • Consuming it excessively can cause abnormal endocrine function and increased blood viscosity.

  • Individuals allergic to nuts should avoid it at all cost.

  • It is a key ingredient in hummus and in baba ghanoush, an aubergine dip.

Nutritional Value:

Tahini contains more protein than milk and most nuts. It’s a rich source of B vitamins that boost energy and brain function, vitamin E, which is protective against heart disease and stroke, and important minerals, such as magnesium, iron and calcium.

Most people prefer the paler type, made from hulled (skinned) seeds. The darker sort, made from unhulled sesame, is stronger-tasting and slightly bitter, but arguably healthier, because many of the nutrients are in the husk. An alternative view is that the fibre in the husk impairs mineral absorption. Either way, tahini is nutrient-dense.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, a 2-tablespoon (tbsp) serving of tahini made from roasted sesame seeds and weighing 30 grams (g) contains:

  • 178 calories

  • 16.13 g of fat

  • 6.36 g of carbohydrates

  • 2.8 g of fiber

  • 0.15 g of sugar

  • 5.1 g of protein

That same 2-tbsp serving provides:

  • 8 percent of magnesium

  • 22 percent of phosphorus

  • 6.36 g of carbohydrates

  • 14 percent of iron

  • 12 percent of calcium

Sesame seeds also contain more phytosterols than all other nuts and seeds. These are important for their cholesterol-lowering and cancer-blocking effects.
There are many other nutrients in sesame seeds, but it is difficult for the body to absorb them due to their hard-outer layer, or hull. Consuming sesame seeds in the paste form of tahini allows the body to absorb the nutrients they provide more efficiently.

Health Benefits:

  • Loaded with minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and iron.

  • Rich in methionine, which aids in liver detoxification.

  • One of the best sources of calcium.

  • It’s high in vitamin E and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B15.

  • Helps to promote healthy cell growth.

  • Prevent anaemia.

  • Helps to maintain healthy skin and muscle tone.

  • It's easy for your body to digest because of its high alkaline mineral content, which is great for assisting in weight loss.

  • The phytoestrogens present in tahini, are extremely beneficial in managing hormones in women.

  • Packed with plethora of minerals, tahini can help improve and strengthen your immune system.

  • It is high in unsaturated fat.

  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, tahini help prevent the onset of arthritis.

Uses of Tahini:

  • Can be used on top of your brownies or into cookie dough.

  • Swap tahini sauce for mayo in salads.

  • Use tahini instead of peanut butter.

  • Mix it into a stir-fry.

  • Blend it with some garlic and chickpeas to make a mouth-watering hummus.

  • Make a salad dressing with tahini.

  • Spread it on gluten-free toast.

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