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Tahini Benefits, Nutrition, And Its Side Effects

Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds, and it has been a staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine for centuries. It offers several health benefits due to its rich nutrient profile. Here are some of the potential benefits of tahini.

Tahini Benefits


Tahini is a good source of essential nutrients such as protein, healthy fats, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. It contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and vitamin E.

Heart-healthy fats

Tahini is primarily composed of healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease when consumed in moderation.

Plant-based protein

Tahini is an excellent source of plant-based protein, making it a valuable addition to vegetarian and vegan diets. Protein is essential for muscle growth, repair, and overall health.

Rich in antioxidants

Sesame seeds, the main ingredient in tahini, are packed with antioxidants. These compounds help protect the body against oxidative stress and inflammation, reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Bone health

Tahini contains important minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, which are essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Adequate intake of these minerals can help prevent conditions like osteoporosis.

Digestive health

The high fiber content in tahini promotes healthy digestion and can help prevent constipation. Fiber also supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which contributes to a healthy digestive system.

Blood sugar control

Tahini has a low glycemic index, meaning it has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. The healthy fats and protein in tahini can slow down the absorption of carbohydrates, helping to regulate blood sugar levels and prevent spikes.

Nutrient absorption

Tahini contains sesamolin and sesamin, two unique compounds that have been shown to enhance the absorption of certain nutrients, such as vitamin E, in the body.

It’s important to note that while tahini offers several health benefits, it is also high in calories, so it’s best to consume it in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Additionally, individuals with sesame seed allergies should avoid tahini.

Tahini Nutrition

Tahini is highly nutritious and offers a range of essential nutrients. Here is a breakdown of the approximate nutritional composition of tahini per 2 tablespoons (30 grams):

  • Calories: 178
  • Total Fat: 16 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 2 grams
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 9 grams
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 0.4 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Calcium: 100 milligrams
  • Iron: 2.7 milligrams
  • Magnesium: 85 milligrams
  • Phosphorus: 130 milligrams
  • Potassium: 190 milligrams
  • Zinc: 1.5 milligrams
  • Vitamin E: 1.4 milligrams

It’s important to note that the nutritional composition of tahini may vary slightly depending on the brand and processing methods. Tahini is high in calories due to its fat content, but the fats it contains are primarily healthy fats. It is also a good source of plant-based protein and provides various minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Additionally, it contains significant amounts of vitamin E, an antioxidant with various health benefits.

Side Effects of Tahini

Tahini is generally safe for most people when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. However, there are a few potential side effects and considerations to keep in mind:


Tahini is made from sesame seeds, and some individuals may have an allergic reaction to sesame. Sesame seed allergies are relatively common and can cause symptoms ranging from mild itching and hives to severe allergic reactions. If you have a known sesame seed allergy, it is important to avoid tahini and any other sesame-containing products.

High in calories

Tahini is a calorie-dense food due to its high-fat content. While the fats in tahini are generally healthy, consuming large amounts of tahini regularly without considering portion sizes can contribute to weight gain and may not be suitable for individuals on a calorie-restricted diet.

Oxalate content

Sesame seeds, the main ingredient in tahini, contain oxalates, which are naturally occurring compounds. In some individuals, high oxalate intake may contribute to the formation of kidney stones. If you are prone to kidney stones or have been advised to limit oxalate intake, it’s best to consume tahini in moderation.

Phytic acid

Tahini, like other seeds and nuts, contains phytic acid, which can inhibit the absorption of certain minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium. However, the impact of phytic acid on mineral absorption is generally minimal when consumed as part of a varied diet.

High in omega-6 fatty acids

While tahini contains healthy fats, it is relatively high in omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3 fatty acids. An imbalance between these two types of fatty acids in the diet may contribute to inflammation in some individuals. It is important to maintain a balanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids for optimal health.

As with any food, it’s advisable to consume tahini in moderation and be aware of any potential allergies or sensitivities you may have. If you have specific health concerns or dietary restrictions, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice.


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