The Exotic Peanut Butter
By Hayley Lynch
Tahini offers a kick of flavor to any dish and its health benefits are certainly something to brag about. Made into a paste from ground up sesame seeds, tahini is featured in many Middle Eastern dishes as a sauce or dressing to accompany anything from salads to chicken.
The spice packs a significant amount of calcium, an important mineral that has been shown to help maintain bone strength and allow muscles to relax, as proven by research from the National Institutes of Health. According to the American Cancer Society, calcium may aid in the prevention of certain cancers, including lowering the risk of developing polyps that cause colorectal cancer. Additionally, during cancer treatment, calcium can help to prevent the thinning of bones, making it an important mineral to incorporate into the diet. Tahini contains phytosterols, which may slow the growth of cancer cells and can have anti inflammatory properties that aide during cancer treatment.
Additionally, tahini contains several vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and copper, that each possess their own beneficial properties. Both Vitamin E and Selenium are powerful anti-oxidants, which prevent damage to the cells of the body from oxidation, a harmful process to the body (Mayo Clinic). According to studies performed by the American Cancer Society, zinc is beneficial for building immunity to many illnesses and may potentially reduce the risk of cancer. It is important to eat a healthy diet containing these minerals during cancer treatment.
It’s best to refrigerate tahini once opened. It can go rancid on the shelf but will last a very long time in the fridge. Just make sure to let it warm up on the counter and stir it thoroughly before using. Tahini settles very fast so stirring is necessary to ensure the right consistency in recipes.
There are numerous ways to incorporate tahini into the diet, and each recipe is tastier than the next! Add a half cup of tahini to any hummus dish to reap benefits of good health and an even better taste. Or, bake a light white fish and add a tahini sauce to boost the flavor and nutrition of a simple dish. Feel free to use tahini to add flavor to any dish, from breakfast to dinner, and enjoy its plentiful benefits.
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