Tahini (sesame paste) – nutritional properties and values

Tahini is a sesame paste that has many properties and nutritional values, which is why it has long been used in the Far East cuisine The ingredients contained in tahini affect the proper functioning of the nervous system, as well as the regulation of blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Check what other properties tahini has.

Tahini is sesame It is prepared from sesame seeds, has a golden colour and sesame-nutty aroma. The consistency resembles a more dense sauce than a paste, which can be spread with something. The best sesame paste does not contain anything other than seeds ground into a smooth cream. Tahini is a typical ingredient in the cuisine of Israel, Iraq, North Africa, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece.

Sesame butter also appears in Chinese and Indian dishes. The first mention of this product comes from 4,000 years ago from the region located in the Middle East between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris, which was the then Mesopotamia.

The word tahini comes from the Arabic language and is derived from the words tahana (crush) and tahiin (flour).

Sesame and tahini are important elements of Middle Eastern culture. In antiquity in the Middle East, sesame, sesame oil and tahini were not only food but also medicine. Emerging in the legend of Alibaba and Forty Thieves, the sesame spell open up shows how in Arabic culture sesame was valued and what can be extracted from it. Because of roasted sesame breaks, it opens, like the legendary treasury.

Tahini (sesame paste) – nutritional values, calories

Sesame consists of about 60% fat and about 20% protein. Sesame oil is mainly composed of unsaturated fatty acids – linoleic and oleic. Tahini also contains some carbohydrates and dietary fibre. Tahini is a good source of essential amino acids, especially methionine, phenylalanine and tryptophan. The limiting amino acid is lysine.

The protein digestibility from tahini is high and amounts to 83%. Sesame seeds themselves contain a lot of phytic acids, which hinders the absorption of proteins, but it is found mainly in the shell. For this reason, tahini paste can be an important element that complements a vegetarian diet with protein. Sesame paste is a great source of B vitamins, mainly thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid as well as gamma-tocopherol.

Benefits of sesame seeds
Benefits of sesame seeds

It also contains important minerals – iron, manganese, zinc, calcium and magnesium. It provides substances with antioxidant properties and reducing chronic inflammation in the body. The darker the sesame seeds, the more antioxidants they contain. Tahini contains lignans, mainly sesamin and sesamolin, as well as phytosterols – beta-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol.

Tahini (sesame paste) – health properties

Tahini contains various natural compounds with a positive effect on the body. These include lignans that have antioxidant and antiproliferative activity, increase vitamin E antioxidant activity, lower cholesterol, increase the secretion of fatty acid oxidizing enzymes in the liver, and have antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. Gamma-tocopherol present in sesame is designed to protect the fats in the seeds against rancidity (oxidation).

It inhibits the activity of free radicals, thanks to which not only increases the durability of oils but protects against diseases at the molecular level. Gamma-tocopherol has been shown to prevent platelet aggregation and delay the formation of thrombi in the arteries. Tocopherols have high antioxidant, anti-cancer and hypocholesterolemic potential.

Tahini contains phytosterols that have a great impact on lowering blood cholesterol. Tahini pastes produced from dark-grained sesame varieties are richer in phytosterols. The sesamin present in tahini has beneficial effects in Alzheimer’s disease. It affects the activity of neuronal differentiation, and thus improves cognition and memory. Sesame and its preparations are known as blood pressure-lowering products.

Sesame is a strong allergen. An allergic reaction to sesame occurs mainly in children, however, it can occur in all those allergic to nuts. People prone to allergies and asthmatics should avoid eating tahini.

Numerous studies have shown that PUFA, sesame and sesame vitamin E regulate blood pressure and renal pressure. Administration of sesamin reduces the thickness of the aorta and upper mesenteric artery. It also causes a reversal of kidney-damaging lesions such as thickening of the intima and arterial wall fibrosis.

One small study in 41 people with type 2 diabetes showed that adding 2 tablespoons of tahini to breakfast every day for 6 weeks causes a 21% drop in blood levels of hsCRP (an indicator of inflammation in the body).

Type 2 diabetes is a disease with chronic low inflammation, which is harmful at the cellular level. Consuming tahini can help reduce the side effects associated with diabetes.

Tahini (sesame paste) – use in the kitchen

Tahini is available in hulled and hulled sesame. Peanut sesame paste has a darker colour and a more noticeable bitterness. It tastes like well-known sesame seeds.

Typical dishes in which tahini is a key ingredient in characterizing the dish come from Arabic cuisine. These include hummus, baba ghanoush or halva. Tahini can be used in the kitchen in many ways. It tastes good alone as a sauce or a pita addition.