Tuesday 24 October 2017

6 delicious health benefits of tahini!

White sesame or til is used extensively during Diwali farsan making. It is used to speckle savoury treats like chakli or as the main component of delicious-yet-nutritious sweets til ke laddoos and chikkis. And if you are wondering what to do with all the leftover white til after Diwali, whip them up into something truly spectacular, something that is not only healthy, but also finger-licking good. Make a tahini dip!
Tahini is a Middle Eastern condiment prepared out of a paste made out of ground hulled sesame seeds. It is served alongside other food stuffs as a dip. The paste is also used to flavour other Middle Eastern specialties like hummus and baba ghanoush. If you love the nutty taste of peanut and almond butter, you are going to love tahini. It is more nutritious than the other nut butters and keeps for longer. You can spread it on chapatis, have it with toasts and use it has a salad dressing. And if you are wondering if it is nutritious, here are five reasons why tahini should be a constant fixture at your dining table.
Lowers cholesterol
Sesame which forms the base of the dish is a heart-protecting seeds. The seed itself contains zero cholesterol; daily intake of sesame helps in promoting heart health by lowering cholesterol levels in the blood. This minimises the chances of arterial plaque which can turn fatal.1 3
Good source of amino acids
If your diet is lacking in protein, try a spoonful of tahini every day. White sesame paste contains 20 percent proteins, making it good source of amino acids.2
Provides healthy fats
For a good metabolism, you should have adquate amount of healthy fats in your diet. Sesame seeds are rich in fatty acids such as linoleic and oleic acids. It is also rich in gamma-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E.2
Helps balance hormones
Lignans are phytonutrients with antioxidant properties that helps balance your hormones. Sesame seeds are replete in fat-soluable lignans such as sesamin and sesamolin, which helps balance oestrogen levels in women.2
Reduces oxidative stress
Free radicals are unstable molecules with an unpaired electron on its outer shell and are produced during the metabolic process. They are responsible for diseases like Parkinson’s, cancer and autoimmunity due to the scavenging effect they have on the healthy cells. The antioxidant content in sesame seeds has a negative effect on these damage-causing free radicals, reducing the harm caused by oxidative stress.3
Prevents cancer and heart diseases
Cancer and heart diseases, two of the most prolific causes of human mortality can be prevented if the diet is rich in tocopherols, a major vitamer of vitamin E. Having moderate amounts of sesame seeds in the form of tahini will help increase plasma gamma tocopherol in the body and improve the absorption of vitamin E.4
How to make tahini
It is probably the easier of all nut butters to prepare. All you need are sesame seeds and a few tablespoons of sesame oil. If you don’t have sesame oil, any neutral-tasting clear oil like grapeseed or sunflower oil will do.
3 tablespoons seasame seeds
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
There are two ways of making the tahini: out of raw sesame or roasted sesame seeds. The one made of raw sesame has lesser calories but the one with roasted sesame tastes much better.
  • With the latter, you need to roast 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds on a tawa. Ensure they don’t burn.
  • When they are a slight golden colour, remove from the heat. Those who want to make tahini out of raw seeds can skip these two steps.
  • Wait for the seeds to cool and use a dry grinding jar of your mixer to powder the seeds.
sesame paste
  • One the seeds are sufficiently pulverised, add the oil to the mixture and stir well to form a smooth paste. Add salt to taste.
sesame paste tahini
1. Namayandeh, S. M., Kaseb, F., & Lesan, S. (2013). Olive and sesame oil effect on lipid profile in hypercholesterolemic patients, which better?. International journal of preventive medicine, 4(9), 1059.
2. Martinchik AN. [Nutritional value of sesame seeds]. Vopr Pitan. 2011;80(3):41-3. Review. Russian. PubMed PMID: 21842753.
3.Khadem Haghighian, M., Alipoor, B., Eftekhar Sadat, B., Malek Mahdavi, A., Moghaddam, A., & Vatankhah, A.-M. (2014). Effects of Sesame Seed Supplementation on Lipid Profile and Oxidative Stress Biomarkers in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis. Health Promotion Perspectives, 4(1), 90–97. http://doi.org/10.5681/hpp.2014.012
4. Cooney, R. V., Custer, L. J., Okinaka, L., & Franke, A. A. (2001). Effects of dietary sesame seeds on plasma tocopherol levels. Nutrition and cancer, 39(1), 66-71.
Image source: Shutterstock

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