There are different kinds of oil out there. All are used differently, with different nutrients, and, different health benefits. One of the commonly used oils especially in Indian households is sesame oil.
The usage of sesame oil dates back thousands of years. Since then it has been known for its incredible health benefits and its ability to add a boost of flavor in just about any dish.
Sesame Oil Health Benefits
Sesame oil is said to have some significantly important health benefits. It’s filled with antioxidants and is also a rich source of vitamins like vitamin E and vitamin K. It also contains small amounts of omega 3, omega 6, omega 9 fatty acids. These fatty acids help prevent several diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Besides that, sesame oil has been used by many cultures as a pain-relieving aid and anti-inflammatory medicine. It is used in some Taiwanese medicines to curb joint pain, menstrual cramps, toothache and to treat cuts and scrapes. The sesame seed oil contains an amino acid known as tyrosine that helps in combating feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress.
It is also good for the skin, hair, and oral health. According to research, using sesame oil as a mouthwash can help reduce bacterias in the saliva that can cause cavities. Since sesame oil is rich in vitamin E, which makes sesame oil good for your hair, applying it can nourish your hair and scalp. The oil extracted from sesame seeds is also non-comedogenic and has anti-inflammatory properties which mean it does not clog pores like most oils do and can aid in treating acne, this means sesame oil is good for your skin as well. There are a number of sesame oil benefits. We’ll cover more in this article.
What is Sesame Oil?
Sesame oil is edible vegetable oil. It is derived from the seeds of a flowering plant, known as Sesamum indicum, mostly found in the tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, Africa, and South America. The oil has a naturally nutty flavor which means it does not require a lot of refining in order to make it edible. There are different types of sesame oil. It can either be made with pressed plain sesame seeds or toasted sesame seeds. The taste of sesame oil vs toasted sesame oil may vary slightly.
As the oil is edible, it is used as a flavor enhancer in different ways in Japanese, Chinese, South Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisines. The lighter version of sesame oil derived from plain sesame seeds and made and used differently is also known as gingelly oil which is famous in South India and Japan. It is one of the earliest known crop-based oils and is quite rare and expensive today because of its hand-harvesting process used to extract oil from the seeds.
Sesame Oil Nutrients
Sesame oil is a nutrient-rich food, which means it contains some important vitamins and fatty acids that significantly contribute towards healthy living. Here are the significant nutritional values of 1 tablespoon of sesame oil:
|Omega – 3
|Omega – 6
Sesame Oil is a rich source of fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 6. It also contains stronger bone-building vitamins, vitamin K and also vitamin E, which aids in making the immune function stronger. The calorie count of sesame oil is relatively low and it does not contain trans fat, which means it is good for weight management as well.
Sesame Oil Benefits
Besides a good blend of fatty acids and important vitamins. Sesame oil also contains sesamol and lignans. This can help combat radicals in your body, which can reduce the risk of developing different chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. Here are a few benefits of sesame oil:
- Improves heart health
As sesame oil is rich in fatty acids, one of which is omega-3 that is known to prevent heart attacks. It helps reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation of blood vessels is amongst the causes of strokes and heart diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglyceride levels (also known as bad cholesterol) and increase high-density lipoprotein HDL (also known as good cholesterol).
According to a study conducted on 48 adults, the consumption of olive oil and sesame oil for a month led to a greater decrease in LDL cholesterol and triglycerides than those who had olive oil. A reduction in cholesterol levels also reduces the risk of plaque build-up in the arteries, which can cause heart diseases hence proving that sesame oil helps improve heart health.
- Can help control blood sugar levels
Sesame oil can help regulate blood sugar levels. According to a study conducted on adults suffering from type 2 diabetes, consuming sesame oil for 90 days helped reduce blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1c (which is an indicator of long term blood sugar regulation)
- Can help treat wounds quickly
Sesame oil has important anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can aid in the healing of wounds, scrapes, and burns. As per a study conducted on mice, topical treatment with sesame oil helped in the quick healing of wounds and burns.
- Provide protection against UV rays
Many researchers have claimed that sesame oil can be an effective natural sunscreen. It is said to absorb 30% of the UV rays. Due to this and its antioxidant properties, it can provide significant protection against UV rays, which can damage the skin.
- Can be a natural laxative
Besides drinking plenty of water and high-fiber fruits, you can also consume sesame oil to relieve constipation. It helps lubricate the bowel and intestines. According to a study, the oily composition of sesame seeds can help in moisturizing the digestive system which can also prevent constipation.
Why is Sesame Oil Called Gingelly Oil?
Sesame oil and gingelly oil are both extracted from sesame seeds, that’s why sometimes sesame oil is also referred to as gingelly oil. The only thing different is that the extraction of gingelly oil is done using a different process which requires high temperatures that result in the gingelly oil yielding the amber color whilst the raw sesame oil is of yellowish color.
Difference Between Toasted and Regular Sesame Oil
The difference between toasted and regular sesame oil lies in the kind of sesame seeds they are extracted from, the flavor, and the usage of the oils. Regular sesame oil is made from raw sesame seeds whilst toasted sesame oil is made from toasted sesame seeds. The toasting process of the seeds aids in building the flavor of the oil, which makes it best to be used as a finishing product for your food like salad dressing. The nutty flavor of the sesame oil is enhanced when it is derived from toasted sesame seeds. The smoke point of toasted oil is relatively lower than the regular sesame oil, which makes regular sesame oil better for cooking and deep-frying.
Sesame Oil Uses
We can categorize sesame oil as an all-purpose oil. We can cook food in it or use it as an add-on for a dish to make it more flavorful. We can apply it to our face to make our skin look more radiant or we can layer it on our hair, which will help strengthen it. Here are some ways in which you can use sesame oil:
- You can apply sesame oil to your face for massaging and moisturizing purposes.
- Sesame oil is non-comedogenic and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it best for treating acne scars. You can apply it directly to the scars and leave it overnight.
- As we mentioned earlier sesame oil can absorb UV rays, which makes it a good natural sunblock.
- Sesame oil is rich in vitamin E, which helps in improving hair health. Massage the oil onto the scalp and leave it on for an hour to see the benefits.
- You can also use sesame oil as a leave-on. Spray some of it onto the ends of the hair to give it a glossy look and to prevent hair tangling.
- Oral Health
- You can use sesame oil as a mouthwash. It can help extract bacteria from the saliva and prevent cavities.
- Regular sesame oil can be used for cooking delicious food and deep-frying your marinated chicken.
- Toasted sesame oil can be used as a salad dressing. You can use it to saute meat or vegetables. Mix it with a few herbs and spices and you have a perfect marinade for your chicken.
Sesame oil has countless health benefits. Its rich nutritional properties can help prevent a number of chronic diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure. But if you are more likely to get diabetes or hypertension, consult our expert physicians who can help you manage these diseases using a proper treatment plan that will include a healthy diet.
– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.
About The AuthorDr. Syra Hanif M.D.
Board Certified Primary Care Physician
Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.Read More