If this is the first time you are reading an article of mine, I would like to give you some background first. I am a Mexican adventurer and health specialist, living in Toronto. I started travelling the world from a young age, and to this day, a few months from my 30th birthday, I have visited over 45 countries.
Travelling and exploring new countries, fills my heart. Nothing can compare to the feeling of getting out of an airplane, and switching on my FOODIE mood. Nothing beats trying new cuisines, and new flavours in an unknown location. If I could describe what happiness means to me, undeniably FOOD would be it.
So, you must be wondering, what I know about Dukkah – and funnily enough, I have tried many dishes that utilize this Egyptian staple over the last couple of years. When La Fourmi contacted me to write about the health benefits of this blend, I have to admit I jumped with joy with the thought of having the opportunity to spend a few days in the kitchen experimenting with flavours and creating healthy alternatives to enjoy with this outstanding blend.
So get ready, because not only will we speak about Dukkah, and touch on all its health benefits, but I will also give you some neat ideas to include it in your meals in a healthy way.
What is Dukkah?
First things first. Maybe you are unfamiliar with what dukkah is so before we start speaking about its health benefits; let us start with what it is. Dukkah is an Egyptian blend that contains a beautiful array of spices. It has a nutty taste, and a delicate delicious crunch. You will find more information about Dukkah in this article.
Health benefits of Dukkah
The health benefits of Dukkah are many, thanks to the varied range of spices contained in the blend. Research suggests that using this type of blend over a prolonged period can help lower the probability of developing cardiovascular diseases as long as it is utilized in nutritional foods and coupled with exercise.
The spices found in Dukkah can strengthen our immune system, help eliminate free radicals in the body, regulate our cholesterol levels, and prevent high blood pressure, among other incredible benefits that you will discover as we delve deeper into the world of Dukkah.
Depending on the region, you may find different species in Dukkah. However, in the case of the La Fourmi Dukkah Brunch, we will be discussing them paring a blend of almonds, sesame seeds, maple syrup, sea salt and cinnamon.
A blend full of nutrition value
If we start analyzing the blend, just by hearing that it has almonds, we know that it will contain a great number of antioxidants, vitamin E, and B-complex vitamins like folate and niacin. Who would have thought that some small almonds offered so many benefits? Almonds are not only rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber but they are also an excellent source of vegetable protein.
The importance of adding good fats to our diet is enormous and almonds are rich in monounsaturated fats. When included in the diet, almonds can help reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 30%. Furthermore, almonds are high in magnesium, help us keep a healthy heart and are high in potassium that assists to regulate blood pressure.
I generally try to have them as a snack in the afternoon, as around 10 almonds (approximately 12g) provide us with 66 kcal, 6 g of mostly monounsaturated fat, and a good dose of calcium, vitamin E, manganese and magnesium. So being able to include it in my main meals through dukkah makes me very happy.
Who doesn’t love tahini? I am a frequent consumer of it, and the fact that Dukkah contains sesame seeds is great as you will be benefitting from a source of manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, and dietary fiber. This combo of minerals translates into various health benefits such as; relief in arthritis thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant enzymes, preventing high blood pressure, preventing migraines, increasing bone mineral density, reducing blood levels of cholesterol, and boosting the immune response, among so many others.
There is so much more to this delicious syrup that comes from a plant’s sap other than being a sweet sauce that we pour on our pancakes on the weekend. Studies keep surfacing about the medicinal compounds that pure maple syrup contains such as anti-cancer and anti-bacterial properties. Apart from being high in antioxidants, it is also rich in riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium.
This is one of the spices that we all use almost every day and has been used since 2800BC. There are four types of cinnamon and they have all been discovered to have medicinal properties. Cinnamon is an anti-oxidant, has anti-inflammatory properties, and has also been reported to have properties that help fight against neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Quick serving ideas using Dukkah
Dukkah Brunch gives a delicious taste to dishes thanks to its crunchiness and its combination of sweet and salty. Here are some quick serving ideas:
- As a topping on salads to give it a crunchier texture,
- On top of a guacamole (this one was made with purple onion, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, and dukkah on top),
- Yogurt dip with Dukkah
- Sprinkled over poached eggs
- Sprinkled over an avocado toast
- As a crust for chicken breast, with onions, cherry tomatoes and cilantro
- Sprinkled over hummus
- Sprinkled over roasted vegetables
- Over soups such as carrot soup
- Sprinkled over sweet potatoes
- As a crust for salmon
- Roasted cauliflower with dukkah
- Roasted Butternut Squash with Dukkah
- Plantain filled with ham and cheese and sprinkled with dukkah, as a side is a combination of diced tomato, pumpkin, and onion
As long as you enjoy eating, I am sure you will enjoy adding Dukkah to your dishes! Go ahead and explore the Egyptian in you!
With lots of love,
Diana Ancona, MSc
BSc Nutrition & Food Science, MSc Global Health
Kawatra, P., & Rajagopalan, R. (2015). Cinnamon: Mystic powers of a minute ingredient. Pharmacognosy research, 7(Suppl 1), S1–S6. doi:10.4103/0974-8490.157990
University of Rhode Island. (2010, March 25). Pure maple syrup contains medicinally beneficial compounds, pharmacy researcher finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 29, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100321182924.htm
Rao, P. V., & Gan, S. H. (2014). Cinnamon: a multifaceted medicinal plant. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2014, 642942. doi:10.1155/2014/642942
Sesame Seeds. The world’s healthiest foods. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=84