Hummus is a creamy Middle-Eastern dip or spread that has recently become incredibly popular, thanks to the rise of plant-based and gluten-free diets. While there is no single way of making this nutrient-dense food, hummus is traditionally made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with olive oil, spices, lemon juice, and tahini – a paste made from toasted sesame seeds, as previously noted. Here Megan Ware, RDN, LD, MedicalNewsToday.com, reflects on the health benefits of tahini, medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT:
“It is a major ingredient in hummus and baba ghanoush, a dip similar to hummus, made with eggplant rather than chickpeas.
This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods.
It provides a nutritional breakdown of tahini and an in-depth look at its possible health benefits, how to incorporate more tahini into your diet, and any potential health risks of consuming tahini.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, a 2-tablespoon (tbsp) serving of tahini made from roasted sesame seeds and weighing 30 grams (g) containsTrusted Source:
- 178 calories
- 16.13 g of fat
- 6.36 g of carbohydrates
- 2.8 g of fiber
- 0.15 g of sugar
- 5.1 g of protein
That same 2-tbsp serving provides:
Tahini seems to contain large amounts of fat. However, only 2 of the 16 g found in a 2-tbsp serving are saturated. The rest are mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, known to be beneficial to the heart and overall health.
Sesame seeds also containTrusted Source more phytosterols than all other nuts and seeds. These are important for their cholesterol-lowering and cancer-blocking effects.
There are many other nutrients in sesame seeds, but it is difficult for the body to absorb them due to their hard outer layer, or hull. Consuming sesame seeds in the paste form of tahini allows the body to absorb the nutrients they provide more efficiently.
Tahini boasts a range of health benefits to enrich any meal.
Being made from sesame seeds means that tahini can provide some of the benefits of sesamin and sesamol.
These are lignans, antioxidant nutrients that can help support the immune system and balance hormone levels.
As seen above, tahini is high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Studies have shown that consuming these types of fats can lower harmful cholesterol levels as well as lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
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