SERVING SIZE: 1 tbsp
SPECIES: Sesamum indicum
How Can This Ayurvedic Food Make You Feel Great?
Smooth, hearty tahini is the creamy butter of blended sesame seeds. This savory and sensual spread invites a Middle Eastern richness to your meals. It can be used to create soft, velvety dips like hummus and babaganoush, sauces to drizzle on top of falafels, or warming dressings to add to your salads. Tahini has a long history, with its use dating back to the 13th century. Its popularity, versatility, and availability, lead it to spread across continents through the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Ayurveda views tahini as a powerful ingredient, used to bestow both mental and physical strength on those who consume it.
Build & StrengthenTahini's sweet and heavy qualities mean it is anabolic and building in nature. It can be a useful addition to the diet after a period of exhaustion or depletion to rebuild tissues, provided digestion is strong. High in healthy fats from the oily sesame seed, it nourishes and strengthens nervous, muscle and fat tissue in particular. Tahini also packs an impressive calcium content, supporting the maintenance of bone strength. Its earthy quality and magnesium content help soothe and relax tension in the muscles, allowing you to unwind after a period of stress. Moderate amounts of quality oils, like those of tahini, restore strength and can keep the body looking and feeling young. The unctuous nature combats the dryness of Vata that can accelerate aging, and leaves the skin feeling soft and supple. Many dry Vata individuals seem to literally soak up the oiliness of tahini.
Heavy & Satisfying Nerve TonicAs well as building and strengthening, the sweet, heaviness of tahini also gives it tonifying properties, encouraging regeneration of tissues. These qualities, teamed with the oiliness of tahini, make it deeply nourishing for the nervous system. It soothes Vata and mildly sedates frayed or frazzled nerves. Thick and dense, tahini brings stability to a frenetic mind, leaving you feeling grounded. Tahini will help slow you down if you are prone to rushing around, juggling too much at once, or feeling anxious. One client remarked how they could feel the heavy, oily nature of of tahini calming their nerves, "It's like an internal abhyanga [self massage with oil]... I did feel the grounding, and nourishing effects on my nervous system as well." Tahini's heavy, downward energy can help induce a sense of relaxation and encourage sound sleep after a stressful day. Another client remarked on how the tahini improved their mood, "I felt happy after I ate tahini. I got the sense I was being nourished."
Warmth that is Bone DeepWhen the winds of autumn or the harsh winter chill hits, the heat of tahini will warm you up from the inside out. Its warming quality stokes the fires of metabolism and digestion. "I felt warmth moving down my GI tract... and comfort in my stomach," noted a client. Another observed, "It filled me with a feeling of warmth and contentment - kind of that hearty food feeling." Tahini moistens digestion and prevents dryness in the GI tract during these colder months. A little tahini in the tummy can be as good as a hot water bottle, warming you to your bones. This warmth will be too heating for Pitta types, particularly in the summer months. In excess it can lead to hyperacidity or feelings of anger, frustration and impatience.
How to Use TahiniLess is more when it comes to tahini. You just need a small amount to enjoy the warm, nutty aroma and warming nature. Don't overwhelm your palate with large servings, and too much can weigh down digestion. When purchasing tahini, you will be presented with two varieties - unhulled and hulled. Unhulled has a stronger, more distinct flavor, one that is not to everyone's taste. This variety is made from the whole sesame seed and retains more vital nutrients, but can be slightly harder to digest. Hulled tahini, while milder and sweeter in taste, is less nutritious as the shell, or husk, of the seed has been removed, and this is where most of the calcium is found, but is easier to digest. Tahini can be used in a variety of sweet and savory recipesrecipes.
Effect on DigestionObserve how tahini affects your digestion before making it a pantry staple. A small portion of people experience the dry, pasty, astringency of tahini and find it too difficult to swallow without a drink. One client noticed this difficult quality before even tasting, "When I first opened the jar, the oil had separated and was on top of the solids. It was difficult to mix, which I imagine might mean it is slow and difficult to digest and move through the body." For some clients, the dryness and difficulty to digest made tahini constipating, with one describing "lower abdominal discomfort, gas, bloating and mild constipation" after eating. However, most people experience improved bowel movements due to the heavy and oily qualities of tahini. One Vata client said, "My body tends to crave heavy, smooth, oily food so tahini helped to keep things moving right along, strong and steady."
BUYING & PREPARATION
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WHY EAT AN AYURVEDIC DIET?Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. An Ayurvedic diet is tailored to your individual body type and the specific imbalances you are working with at any given time. Foods that supplement your specific body type’s needs and digest easily create your menu. Watch as you eat less but feel more satisfied because what you are eating truly nourishes you. Since Ayurveda believes all disease begins in the digestive tract, food is your first medicine. By eating a healthy diet that’s ideal for your body, you experience optimal health.
Is Tahini Good for My Ayurvedic Diet?
Experiences are PersonalExperiences vary according to the person and constitution. Individual results may vary. The list of actions below has not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
Bone & Joint:
BONE-TONICAn herb that strengthens the bones and joints.
WARMS-ABDOMENWarms the muscles and organs of the abdomen, stimulating digestion and metabolism.
Energy Vitality Strength:
BUILDS-STAMINAPromotes strength, endurance and resistance in the body. Rebuilds weak tissues after a time of depletion.
SATISFIES-STOMACHProvides a sense of gratification and fullness in the stomach.
STIMULATES-ENERGYThis category groups thyroid and adrenal stimulating herbs
NUTRITIVEAn herb that is strengthening and nourishing.
TONICA tonic herb strengthens tissue, often restoring healthy function. Tonics usually target a specific organ, tissue, or system ie: brain, muscle or respiratory tonic.
Heart & Circulation:
BLOOD-TONICAn herb that produces more blood cells in the body or otherwise strengthens blood. Helpful for anemia and other types of deficiency.
ANTIMICROBIALAn agent that kills microorganisms or inhibits their growth. Antimicrobial is an umbrella term that can be broken down into specific categories of target microorganism, such as anti-bacterials, fungals, and virals.
Liver & Gall Bladder:
LIVOTONICAn herb that strengthens the liver. It is helpful for people with a history of substance abuse, chronic liver issues from hepatitis and hemolytic anemias.
Mind, Stress & Sleep:
GROUNDINGEncourages feelings of stability and heaviness. Makes you feel settled, mentally relaxed. Mildly sedates the nervous system to ease stress. Can bring a spacey or anxious person back to earth.
BUILDS-SEMENHerbs that increase the production of semen, often by rebuilding fluids in general.
GALACTAGOGUEIncreases production of breast milk.
PROMOTES-FERTILITYAn herb that promotes fertility. Generally used by women who wish to become pregnant. These herbs may also help with menstrual problems of deficiency, such as amenorrhea (lack of a period).
PROMOTES-VIRILITYEncourages virility and potency.
Skin Care & Beauty:
SKIN-TONICAn herb that strengthens and nourishes skin, improving tone, color, moisture and complexion.
GENERAL-LAXATIVEPromotes a bowel movement. General laxative is an umbrella term that refers to several different types of laxatives...
MUSCLE-TONICHerbs that strengthen and tone muscle tissue. Helpful for people recovering from long term illness and debility, or after a sprain.
(Not you? Keep scrolling!)
Eat Well for Life With Ayurveda: Balance Your Dosha
HOW DOES EATING AYURVEDICALLY MAKE YOU FEEL?Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. Food digests with ease when right for your body type (dosha). Healthy digestion is seen as the cornerstone of well-being in Ayurveda. Healthy digestion generally prevents illness. If you do get sick, a strong digestive fire reduces the severity of illness and increases your resilience. It also improves your mood. Once you begin eating Ayurvedically, you will feel refreshed, vital and strong.
View Other Ingredients for Autumn-WinterTahini is recommended for Autumn-Winter. Check out these other Autumn-Winter foods here.
Comments & Impressions of 'Tahini'Do you like 'tahini'? Why or why not? What makes it unique? Is there something you'd like to know about 'tahini'?
a traditional home remedy forThis information has not been validated by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
Reproductive HealthAbortion (Past, Recent or Considering)
Blood and CirculationHeart Palpitations
BonesLean muscles, Thin hair, Weak muscles
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.