What are the benefits of sesame seed oil?

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What are the benefits of sesame seed oil?
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Sesame oil, or gingelly, is not just a tasty, useful food product. Derived from the sesame seed, sesame oil is perhaps best known as a common ingredient in Asian and East Indian cooking. Sesame oil has also been used for thousands of years as a popular alternative medical treatment in Ayurvedic and Oriental medicine. The oil is obtained from both raw seeds (called cold-pressed sesame oil) and toasted seeds, and is valued for its long shelf life and high heat tolerance. In addition to its medicinal and food uses, sesame oil is also used in the manufacture of soap, paint and perfume.

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Sesame Oil Facts

Sesame oil, or gingelly, is not just a tasty, useful food product. Derived from the sesame seed, sesame oil is perhaps best known as a common ingredient in Asian and East Indian cooking. Sesame oil has also been used for thousands of years as a popular alternative medical treatment in Ayurvedic and Oriental medicine. The oil is obtained from both raw seeds (called cold-pressed sesame oil) and toasted seeds, and is valued for its long shelf life and high heat tolerance. In addition to its medicinal and food uses, sesame oil is also used in the manufacture of soap, paint and perfume.

Potential Benefits

Historically, sesame oil has been used as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and pain reliever in skin conditions, gum disease and a variety of other illnesses. Modern science now knows that sesame oil is a powerful antioxidant (a substance that reduces the presence of harmful chemicals in the body), high in polyunsaturated fats and an excellent source of vitamin E and minerals. Sesame oil, in fact, has the fourth-highest concentration of polyunsaturated fats of any oil. Polyunsaturated fats are important for cell growth and development and are especially beneficial to the heart. Polyunsaturated fats are also thought to be important in the prevention of illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and autoimmune disorders. Because sesame oil is a natural, readily attainable source of these important polyunsaturated fats as well as its vitamin and antioxidant properties, it has begun to pique the interest of traditional Western medicine. Sesame oil has been the subject of multiple clinical studies and continues to be examined as a potential treatment for cancer, menopause, gum disease, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Blood Pressure Effects

Although the medicinal use of sesame oil is not currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, studies have demonstrated the clinical usefulness of the oil. Researchers interested in the antioxidant and blood pressure lowering effects of sesame oil conducted research on the impact of the oil on patients with high blood pressure. This 2006 study, published in the "Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine," examined the impact when patients substituted sesame oil for all other oils in their diet. After 45 days of consuming the oil regularly, the patient's blood pressure, body weight and blood chemistry were compared to values obtained at the start of the study. The individuals using sesame oil in their diet had a significant reduction in their body weight as well as their blood pressure. The researchers were able to conclude that sesame oil does have a positive impact on blood pressure when consumed regularly in the diet. However, there is no suggested dose of sesame oil so it is suggested that consumption of the oil for health benefits be done through food sources. Furthermore, the American Heart Association advises that the daily caloric intake of fats be no more than 35 per cent of the diet. Consuming large quantities of sesame oil is not advised and is not expected to have any added health benefit.

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