The health benefits of sesame oil include its ability to improve hair and skin health, stimulate strong bone growth, reduce blood pressure, maintain good heart health, manage anxiety and depression, protect infant health, cure the dental problems, prevent cancer, improve the digestive process, and lower inflammation.
Sesame oil, which comes from sesame seeds, is a lesser known vegetable oil but is, in fact, one of the healthiest alternatives to normal vegetable oil options. Sesame seeds, known by the scientific name Sesamum indicum, are small yellowish brown seeds that are primarily found in Africa, but they also grow in smaller numbers on the Indian subcontinent.
Sesame oil has gained quite a bit of popularity in recent years, not only because sesame oil is relatively inexpensive to extract (simple hot water flotation or a variety of pressing techniques). However, sesame oil is best acquired when the seeds are completely ripe, which means that the outer shells burst. Sesame oil can be used in cooking, and it is most commonly used in Asian cuisines, including Chinese, Japanese, and Southeast Asian dishes, as well as Middle Eastern cuisine.
Sesame oil has also been used in massage practices, due to its beneficial effects on the body and the skin. It is a highly sought after oil, even as a carrier oil for various cosmetic products. The problem is the manual processing that sesame seeds require, because of which there will always be more demand than supply.
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Health Benefits of Sesame Oil
Let’s take a closer look at what health benefits can actually be enjoyed when you add sesame oil to your diet.
Sesame oil has traditionally been used to improve the health of hair. It can help to retain the natural hair color and also minimize hair loss. Furthermore, the anti-bacterial effects of sesame oil can help eliminate the pathogens or foreign bodies that can attack your scalp or hair.
Sesame oil is rich in zinc, which is one of the most important minerals for your skin. It can increase skin elasticity and smoothness, helping to reduce the appearance of age spots and eliminate skin conditions, including premature aging. Sesame oil can also be used as a sunscreen because it creates a protective layer on the skin, which is another way of protecting the body from foreign substances or toxins that get in through the skin. In some cultures, sesame oil has even been used to treat fungal diseases on the skin.
Like most vegetable oils, sesame oil is helpful and delicious because of its fatty acid content. Sesame oil contains a wide range of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including sesamol and sesamin. This can keep the cardiovascular system strong and keeps the cholesterol levels low. It can also drop the cholesterol levels that the body already has, thereby reducing atherosclerosis. This means that you are better protected from heart attacks and strokes if you add sesame oil to your diet.
Copper, zinc, and calcium are the three minerals that are integral to the bone growth in the body, which means that by maintaining an appropriate level of sesame oil in your diet, you can help increase the rate of bone growth and development, as well as speed up any healing or regrowth of bones as well. As you get older, sesame oil can help you avoid osteoporosis and various other age-related weaknesses of the bones.
Anxiety and Depression
Tyrosine, in sesame oil, has been directly connected to serotonin activity and release in the brain, which can help boost mood by flooding the body with enzymes and hormones that make a person feel happy. In other words, when you are suffering from anxiety or depression, sesame oil can help give you a positive boost in the right direction and turn your mood around.
Sesame oil is highly recommended by dental professionals because of a process called oil pulling, which involves putting oil in your mouth and then swishing it around before spitting it out. With sesame oil, this process has been directly linked to whiter teeth, lower levels of dental plaque, and protection against certain streptococcus mutants that can make us very ill. The powerful anti-bacterial effects of this oil are the main reasons of this boost in dental health.
Sesame oil contains an organic compound called phytate, which has been directly linked to a reduction in the development of cancer. Furthermore, the magnesium level in sesame oil is unusually high, and this essential mineral is directly linked to lowered chances of colorectal cancer. The calcium content is also very beneficial for preventing colon cancer.
Circulation and Metabolism
High copper and zinc content mean that the body is able to function at its optimal levels, mainly because copper is required for the production of red blood cells. With the significant percent of copper in sesame oil, your body is sure to get the right amount of blood flowing to the organs and tissues, ensuring a healthier lifestyle.
Copper is a natural anti-inflammatory substance, and can help to reduce the inflammation and discomfort of various conditions such as gout and arthritis. It reduces the swelling of joints and strengthens the bones and blood vessels, helping to keep your frame strong and sturdy for many years, without that painful inflammation.
Final Word of Caution
If you are taking anticoagulant or blood-thinning medications, you should speak with your doctor before adding sesame oil to your diet. It lowers your blood pressure and thins the blood as it is, so combining those could be potentially dangerous. Otherwise, enjoy your sesame oil in any way you like. Happy cooking!