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Sesame Butter and the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet has received tons of publicity in recent times and in fact, has become one of the most popular diets around. Not only does it taste good, but it is extremely heart-healthy and it is also fairly simple to follow. For years, nutritionists have touted the benefits of eating a Mediterranean-based diet, mainly due to the large consumption of fresh fish and raw vegetables.

The Basics of the Mediterranean Diet

Essentially, this diet characterizes the traditional cooking style of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and follows their diet practices as they have remained for centuries. Research has actually found that a Mediterranean-based diet can lower the risk of heart disease. A recent study of 1.5 million healthy adults actually revealed that following a Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of mortality, cancer and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases as well.

Incredible Health Benefits

Many cancers are less prevalent in Mediterranean countries in other parts of Europe. Experts attribute this to the low dietary intake of saturated fats and refined carbohydrates as well as consumption of various protective substances, many of which are found in sesame seeds. There are also studies which investigate the lengthy lives of people in various regions of Italy and Greece, specifically the Greek island of Crete and southern Italy.

Sesame and Sesame Butter are Perfect Ingredients

The Mediterranean diet calls for lots of plant-based foods and a good amount of fresh fish as well (2-3x per week.) In lieu of butter, you are to use healthy fats, such as olive oil. Sesame butter can also be used and will add rich flavor and provide added heart-healthy benefits. The main feature of this diet is not on omitting fats from one’s diet, but rather in choosing healthy fats.

Saturated and hydrogenated oils (trans-fats) are not suggested and should be omitted from the diet, but unsaturated fats are indeed welcome. Although olive oil is the main type of oil used in Mediterranean cooking, sesame butter can be used either as a complement to olive oil, or as a substitute. Either way, you are still getting ample amounts of heart-healthy nutrients with each serving. Many recipes based on the typical Mediterranean diet include some form of sesame seeds, whether in oil, seed, or paste form.

Improve Health While Adding Flavor

If you want to follow the very popular and heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, make sure to include lots of fresh extra virgin olive oil and sesame butter, both of which help fight heart disease. Forgo butter for these oils and find ways to incorporate sesame into your everyday meals.

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In fact, in this trade-off—nuts and seeds instead of butter and gravy—the payback outweighs the liability. That’s because the nutritional benefits of the EFAs in nuts and seeds are far greater than the risk of their caloric content.
Stephanie Beling, M.D. Power Foods