The Health Benefits of Tahini

Bottle of Sesame Seeds
A glass bottle filled with sesame seeds. (Image: Andy Dean/Hemera/Getty Images)

Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, plays an important role in Middle Eastern cooking, adding flavor and texture. You may also use it in a variety of other cuisines. This paste offers many health benefits, including healthy macronutrients and a variety of good-for-you vitamins and minerals.

Calories

A 1 tbsp. serving of tahini adds 89 calories to your meal plan. While you can consume tahini by itself, it is more commonly found as part of a larger recipe -- your total caloric intake may be lower or higher, depending on the recipe. Hummus, a dish that contains tahini, contains 25 calories per tbsp. while baba ganoush, an eggplant-tahini dish, contains 40 calories per serving.

Carbohydrates and Protein

A serving of tahini has 3.2 g of carbohydrates and 2.6 g of protein. These small amounts supplement your diet but do not contribute greatly to your daily needs. Endeavor to consume 225 to 325 g of carbs and 50 to 175 g of protein each day to supply your body with energy.

Fats and Fatty Acids

One serving of tahini contains 7.9 g of fat; only 1.1 g of this fat is saturated, the bad type of fat. Limit your intake of fat to 20 to 35 percent of your total daily calories. Tahini is a source of healthy fatty acids, containing 60.1 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 3.421 mg of omega-6 fatty acids. Your body doesn’t manufacture these fatty acids, so getting them from the foods you eat is critical and they are beneficial for your brain and heart.

Thiamin

Consume tahini to boost your thiamin intake. Each serving provides 16 percent of the daily suggested intake of this vitamin, also known as vitamin B-1. The thiamin in tahini influences your nervous system, muscles and digestion.

Phosphorus

Tahini provides 12 percent of the phosphorus you require daily in each serving. This mineral is important for the strength of your bones and teeth. You also need it to remove waste from your kidneys. Boosting your intake of phosphorus by eating tahini is a good choice if you take certain antacids and diuretics that leach phosphorus from your body.

Copper

You need only small amounts of copper in your diet each day, and tahini can help you meet those nutritional needs. This mineral helps keep your blood vessels and bones healthy. You also need it to produce red blood cells, which influences the amount of energy you have for your daily activities.

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