Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds and can be used in a ton of different recipes. It originates from North African, Greek, Iranian, Middle Eastern, and Turkish cuisine and can be used in savory or sweet dishes. Tahini comes in two forms: hulled and unhulled. Unhulled tahini is better for you as it leaves the sesame seeds intact when grinding it into a paste, keeping the nutritional value. Hulled tahini is stripped of all it’s nutrients giving it less benefits but a smoother consistency.
Tahini is rich in many nutrients and vitamins including phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium, and iron. It is also high in protein and calories and should be eaten in moderation or be added to recipes. The nutrition breakdown of 2 tablespoons (tbsps) of tahini (30g) is:
- 178 calories
- 16.13g fat (14g of fat are monounsaturated being beneficial to heart health)
- 6.36g carbohydrates
- 2.8g fiber
- 0.15g sugar
- 5.1g protein
Tahini contains antioxidant nutrients called lignans which help support the immune system and balance the bodies hormones. For women experiencing problematic hormone imbalances or going through menopause, tahini is a great food for you to incorporate into your diet as it contains phytoestrogens, which reduce menopause symptoms such as: hot flashes, bone loss, weakness, mood changes, and low sex drive. Phytoestrogens may also help protect the body from cancers related to hormone production (ie. breast and ovarian cancers).
Studies have also shown that tahini helps patients with osteoarthritis because it has positive effects on oxidative stress and cholesterol levels in the body. A study group who consumed sesame regularly reported less knee pain from their osteoarthritis and did not experience any negative side effects from the tylenol they were given. “Because tahini contains such high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats it also plays a role in lowering cholesterol levels protecting the heart from disease and stroke.”
The fatty acids, amino acids, and vitamins E & B in tahini all work together to help your skin stay youthful and protect against aging. Tahini is a natural antifungal and antibacterial agent which means that it kills bacteria that are trying to clog pores. The fats within tahini also help to keep the skin moist and bring inflammation down in the body. If you are suffering from dry damaged skin, adding a bit of tahini to your regular diet may help.
I hope you enjoy this delicious garlicky lemon tahini dressing by adding it to your burgers, falafels, salads, avocado toast, and veggie wraps. While taking in all the added benefits it provides.
Garlicky Lemon Tahini Dressing
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1/2 cup water (I prefer using warm water)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp garlic powder (2 garlic cloves)
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Peel and mince garlic cloves (if using instead of garlic powder).
- Juice 1 fresh lemon, enough to get 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice.
- Blend all ingredients in a nutribullet or small blender cup until smooth (I use the small 300g salad dressing cups on my ninja blender).
- Pour over salad, burrito bowl, or potatoes and enjoy!