Table of Contents
The Quick Answer
Yes. Tahini is paleo.
Why Is Tahini Paleo?
Tahini is paleo because it is made from sesame seeds, which have numerous health benefits and which have been eaten for thousands of years around the world in places like the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
Tahini is a smooth paste made from ground sesame seeds, which is widely used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It is creamy, like nut butter, but it possesses a unique and sometimes bitter flavor.
Tahini has a texture and a consistency similar to nut butters. It comes in a paste form, although it’s usually pretty smooth and thinner than most nut butters. It has a distinct taste that some people find to be bitter, so it’s usually mixed with other strong foods rather than eaten on its own.
Tahini is made by soaking sesame seeds and then crushing them to separate the bran from the kernels. Normally the seeds are then toasted before being ground into paste form, although this depends on the kind you buy.
Sesame seeds are usually considered very healthy foods, although, like all seeds, they do contain phytic acid properties. Sesame seeds are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are mostly omega-6 fats. Because so many people with poor diets already consume too much omega-6, the paleo diet tries to balance omega-6s with omega-3 fatty acids. For this reason, sesame seeds are not ideal in terms of their fatty acid composition, especially compared to other nuts and seeds, for example walnuts and flaxseeds, which contain more omega-3s.
On the other hand, sesame seeds do have some important nutrient benefits and therefore so does tahini. Sesame seeds are:
- High in vitamin B6
- High in fiber, copper, manganese, calcium, protein, and thiamine
- Rich in antioxidants
Sesame seeds contain powerful plant chemicals called lignans, which help the body to absorb vitamins and nutrients, especially vitamin E. They have also been shown to improve lipid profiles and to help normalize blood pressure. Studies have shown that sesame seeds can aid in weight loss by helping the body to burn stored fat. This is because the seeds activate beneficial enzymes in the liver that break down fatty acids. Sesame seeds also help improve heart health by improving cholesterol levels and by reducing the amount of harmful blood serums in the body. In fact, these seeds are the best seeds out there at lowering cholesterol levels, thanks to their high levels of plant phytosterols. Additionally, sesame seeds are a good source of calcium, fiber, and potassium.
Is There Any Confusion When It Comes To Tahini Being Paleo?
Tahini is normally considered paleo, although nuts and seeds should not be eaten in unlimited quantities. It’s best to get fats from a range of healthy food sources as well as from nuts and seeds. Try wild fish, healthy oils, coconut, and avocados, because these foods provide a more ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.
In addition to the controversy relating to the fatty acid composition of sesame seeds and tahini, there is also a debate about whether or not the process used to make tahini is healthy enough to be classed as paleo. The sesame seeds are often heated to a high temperature to be ground into tahini, which can lead to the seeds becoming oxidized, as they are primarily made of PUFAs, which are not very stable at high heats. Oxidation occurs when a fatty acid is heated to the point that it becomes rancid and toxic within the body. This means many of the healthy properties the food contains (including the fatty acids and the antioxidants) are lost. Oxidization also gives the food the ability to damage cholesterol levels and mess with heart health. For this reason, if you are going to buy and use tahini, its best to get the raw kind, which won’t contain oxidized toxins.
That said, tahini is paleo, because it does come with multiple health benefits and because, when consumed in moderation, it is a nutritious food.
So Is Tahini Paleo?
Yes. Tahini is paleo.
How To Know What Is And Isn’t Paleo
Check out Paleo.io, the mobile app that answers the question, “is __ paleo?” Paleo.io comes with the most comprehensive paleo diet food list out there, so no matter which food you’re confused about, you’ll always be able to find out whether or not it’s paleo.
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