Sesame Seeds

What are the health benefits of tahini?

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December 18, 2014 9:52PM

Some of the health benefits of tahini include a rich mineral source, Methionine, calcium, vitamin E and the vitamin B complex.

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December 18, 2014 7:25PM

Although sesame butter, paste, or tahini made from the whole sesame seed has a stronger nutritional profile, tahini made from the white sesame kernels is more commonly used and still provides some good stuff: it is naturally low in sodium, has no cholesterol, and is a good source of thiamine, magnesium, healthy fat, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and manganese.

Tahini can:

  • Give you energy and alertness. Thiamine in tahini maintains your energy supplies, coordinates the activity of nerves and muscles, and is critical for brain cell and cognitive function. Phosphorus helps you use carbohydrates and fat, store energy, and contract your muscles. It also promotes proper kidney function, heartbeat, and nerve conduction.
  • Promote cardiovascular health. Thiamine in tahini maintains your energy supplies, coordinates the activity of nerves and muscles, supports proper heart function, and is critical for brain cell and cognitive function. The magnesium in tahini reduces high blood pressure. In addition, tahini contains two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, which lower cholesterol, prevent high blood pressure, and increase vitamin E supplies. Phytosterols are compounds in plants that have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol, and may reduce blood levels of cholesterol and enhance your immune response. Tahini is rich in the amino acid, arginine. An enzyme called nitric oxide synthase (NOS)—found in many of your body’s cell types—can use arginine to help produce nitric oxide (NO), which is a muscle relaxant. When NO causes the smooth muscles around your blood vessels to relax, the space inside your blood vessels can expand, allowing blood to flow more freely and creating a drop in blood pressure. In the same way, NO can improve erectile function in men.
  • Prevent migraines. The magnesium in tahini prevents the trigeminal blood vessel spasm that triggers migraines. The calcium in tahini seeds helps prevent migraine headaches.
  • Reduce asthma symptoms. The magnesium in tahini prevents airway spasms.
  • Build strong bodies. Phosphorus helps in the formation of bones and teeth and synthesis of protein.Zinc helps prevent osteoporosis of your hips and spine. The copper in tahini plays an important role in the activity of lysyl oxidase, an enzyme needed for the cross-linking of collagen and elastin—the ground substances that provide structure, strength and elasticity in blood vessels, bones, and joints. Manganese in tahini activates enzymes for using several key nutrients, helps synthesize fatty acids and cholesterol, and facilitates protein and carbohydrate metabolism and formation of bone. The calcium in tahini helps prevent the bone loss that can occur as a result of menopause or certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. The iron in tahini is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from your lungs to all body cells, and is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. Hemoglobin synthesis also relies on the copper in sesame seeds; without it, your red blood cells cannot properly use iron.
  • Provide relief for rheumatoid arthritis. The copper in tahini can reduce some of the pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis, because it is important in a number of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant enzymes.
  • Fight free radicals. Manganese in tahini is a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase, which disarms free radicals produced within the mitochondria (the energy production factories within your cells). Sesamin in tahini can protect your liver from oxidative damage.
  • Help prevent cancer. The calcium in tahini helps protect colon cells from cancer-causing chemicals. Phytosterols in tahini can decrease your risk of certain cancers.
  • Keep you slim. The arginine in tahini can form polyarginine peptides, which can block activity of an enzyme called tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase, or TNAP. When TNAP activity is shut down, your fat cells (adipocytes) tend to create less fat.
  • Improve your mood. Magnesium in tahini is essential for the biochemical reactions in your brain that boost your energy levels, and is good for fighting depression. Copper in tahini plays a role in the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine, which affects your body’s biological response to stress, and is also involved in pain, cognition, mood, and emotions. Calcium triggers the release of neurotransmitters every time a neuron fires, and disturbances in calcium levels can produce anxiety, depression, irritability, impaired memory, and slow thinking. Iron is vital for a stable mood—its highest concentrations in your brain are located in areas related to mood and memory. The abundant protein, calcium, copper, magnesium, and zinc in tahini can improve your capacity to convert alpha linoleic acid (ALA), the omega-3 essential fatty acid in sesame seeds, into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are great for boosting your mood, and low levels of of DHA have been associated with increased risk of suicide.