Sesame oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. Besides being used as a cooking oil in South India, it is often used as a flavour enhancer in Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian cuisine. It has a distinctive nutty aroma and taste.
The oil from the nutrient-rich seed is popular in alternative medicine, from traditional massages and treatments to the modern day.
The oil is popular in Asia and is also one of the earliest-known crop-based oils, but world-wide mass modern production continues to be limited even today due to the inefficient manual harvesting process required to extract the oil.
Sesame seeds are full of zinc, an essential mineral for producing collagen and giving skin more elasticity. Zinc also helps damaged tissues in the body to repair. Sesame oil is also known to sooth burns and prevent skin related disorders.
Sesame seeds offer 4.7 grams of protein per ounce, giving them a perfect place in a high-protein vegetarian diet.
One of the most prominent benefits of sesame seeds and sesame oil revolves around removing dental plaque and boosting oral health. By engaging in an activity known as oil pulling, which involves swishing oil around in your mouth, you can boost oral health and even whiten your teeth. One study showcases the oil pulling benefits on the oral level, where oil pulling with sesame oil was shown to reduce the amount of streptococcus mutants in both teeth plaque and mouth saliva, and boost overall health. (Click the next link to find out what oil pulling is and learn of oil pulling benefits).Helps Prevent Diabetes – Thanks to magnesium and other nutrients, sesame seeds, and especially sesame oil, has been shown to combat diabetes. One study, published in 2011 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that sesame oil “improved the effectiveness of the oral antidiabetic drug glibenclamide in type 2 diabetic patients”. Another study concluded that “substitution of sesame oil as the sole edible oil has an additive effect in further lowering BP and plasma glucose in hypertensive diabetics”.
As the above study concludes, sesame oil has been shown to lower blood pressure in hypertensive diabetics. Additionally, magnesium has been shown to help lower blood pressure – and sesame seeds are loaded with magnesium.
Further adding to the health benefits of sesame seeds, sesame seed oil can boost heart health by preventing atherosclerotic lesions. An antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound known as sesamol, which also harnesses anti-atherogenic properties, is thought to be one reason for the beneficial effects. According to GreenMedInfo, sesamol has been shown to “possess over two dozen beneficial pharmacologically active properties, many of which may contribute to improving cardiovascular health”.
Protects Against DNA Damage from Radiation – Sesamol, a compound found in sesame seeds and sesame oil, has been shown in some studies to protect against DNA damaged caused by radiation. Further, sesamol has been shown to extend life in mice treated with radiation, partly by preventing damage to the intestines and the spleen.
Prevents Cancer – Not only do sesame seeds contain an anti-cancer compound called phytate, but the magnesium in sesame seeds also harness anti-cancer properties. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the risk of colorectal tumors decreased by 13% and the risk of colorectal cancer decreased by 12% for every 100 mg of magnesium taken in.
In addition to promoting healthy skin, zinc has also been shown to boost bone mineral density and bone health as a whole. One study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found a correlation between zinc deficiency and osteoporosis in the hip and spine area. What’s more, sesame seeds are a great source of calcium – a known trace mineral that is essential for bone health and preventing related conditions.
Boosting Digestive Health, Relieving Constipation – Sesame seeds are rich in fiber, which is known to pave way for a healthy digestive system and a healthy colon.
Provides Relief from Rheumatoid Arthritis – A mineral that is important for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant enzyme systems, copper is known for reducing pain and swelling associated with arthritis. Additionally, this mineral helps provide strength to blood vessels, bones, and joints.
Sesame seeds are able to prevent asthma by and other respiratory disorders by preventing airway spasms.