In Mandy’s Pantry: Tahini

For the last recipe I posted, the main ingredient for the dressing was tahini.  I’ve really only used tahini for a couple of years now, but it is definitely something I always have on hand because it’s such a good base for sauces, dips and dressings.  It adds a creamy/nutty texture to dishes.  Tahini also happens to be one of the main ingredients of hummus, which lots of people don’t realize!

What is it?

Tahini is essentially a paste, made from sesame seeds.  Similar to any nut butter, it’s made from grinding the seeds until it forms the liquid/oily consistency.  Depending on where it’s from, it’s either made from hulled (Middle Eastern) or unhulled (Asian) sesame seeds.  The majority I’ve seen in Canada is hulled.  The difference is the calcium content as hulled contains more calcium; however, it’s a form that is harder for our body to absorb, so I think it nets out equal, and am happy eating the hulled version.

How healthy is it?

Source

Since tahini is sesame seed based, it’s a good source of calcium and magnesium.  Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our body!  I’ve already mentioned how important it is for bone health, but calcium along with magnesium, are also important for pain relief after exercise and calcium is really helpful in relieving PMS symptoms.

It’s important that calcium and magnesium are in balance though, and magnesium is easily eliminated from our body by any diuretic, so particularly if you’re a coffee drinker.  When we have an imbalance of calcium and magnesium, muscle cramping can occur.  It’s not just our skeletal muscles that magnesium can relax.  It can also relax the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, working as a mild natural laxative.

Where can I buy it?

There’s no excuse on this one – it’s available in all the grocery stores.  I try to buy it organic when I can.

Other ways to use it:

  • In hummus
  • In baba ganoush
  • In a sauce for steamed vegetables

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