Two of the most well-known nutritious foods are sesame and consequently its derivative, tahini, which are the basis for these delicious cookies. Due to their valuable nutrients and their high content of proteins and amino acids, they are rightly ranked very high in the category of superfoods.
Their consumption can contribute to the total daily intake of protein, even by people who avoid eating animal products such as vegetarians (Vegetarian certification). Almost 100% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids found in tahini are linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acid), which is characterized as "essential", as it cannot be synthesized by the body and is supplied only through food. Research has shown that consuming monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids has proven benefits in lowering cholesterol levels and has a cardioprotective effect.
In addition, the benefits of tahini include the presence of lignans (sesamin and sesamol), antioxidants that help strengthen the immune system and reduce blood lipids. It is worth noting that tahini does not contain any cholesterol while also helping to prevent dyslipidemia (increased blood lipids) through the plant sterols it contains. Plant sterols, or as we often call them phytosterols, are compounds that have a structure similar to that of cholesterol. This similarity results in "confusing" our intestine, when it tries to absorb food cholesterol and instead, ultimately chooses phytosterols, resulting in smaller amounts of cholesterol in our body. Furthermore, natural sterols have been shown to help excrete cholesterol, resulting in lower cholesterol levels, when tested.
Finally, it would be an omission to disregard the Vegetarian certification that the product bears and means that it does not contain animal ingredients, its ingredients have not been tested on animals on behalf of the company and it does not contain GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) from animals' genes.
Despina (Debbie) A. Mavridou is a dietitian-nutritionist (B.Sc.) and owner of Eat with D community, based in Kavala.