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Health Benefits: Sesame Seed Oil Vs. Olive Oil

author image Sarah Whitman
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.
Health Benefits: Sesame Seed Oil Vs. Olive Oil
Five different bottles of cooking oils. Photo Credit FikMik/iStock/Getty Images

Olive oil and sesame oil are both commonly used in cuisines worldwide. Olive oil offers a mild, often fruity essence and is a staple in Italian and Mediterranean dishes. Sesame oil has a stronger, almost smoky flavor and is popular in Asian cuisine. Each oil offers its own nutrient profile.

Fat Soluble Vitamins

Per tablespoon, sesame and olive oils supply about 120 calories of pure fat. But with the fat comes certain vitamins, like vitamin E and K. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, and it also helps boost immunity and prevent blood clots, according to the National Institutes of Health. Vitamin K assists with blood clotting. Sesame oil has .19 mg of vitamin E and 1.8 micrograms of vitamin K, while olive oil has 1.94 milligrams of vitamin E and 8.1 micrograms of vitamin K.

Health-Protective Qualities

Both oils have monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, known as "good" fats for their ability to lower cholesterol levels, stabilize heart patterns and combat inflammation. The United States Department of Agriculture confirms sesame oil reduces cholesterol, while Harvard reports lower rates of breast cancer in women who consume olive oil. Comparatively, olive oil has 9.85 grams of polyunsaturated fat and 1.42 grams of monounsaturated fat per tablespoon, while sesame oil has about 5.5 grams of each.

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Cholesterol is found only in animal products like meats, eggs and dairy products, so using either olive or sesame oil is favorable over cholesterol-laden animal fats. High cholesterol can cause atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries which can lead to heart disease. The National Institutes of Health notes saturated fat and dietary cholesterol raises blood cholesterol, and reducing the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet helps lower your blood cholesterol level.

Smoke Points

Every oil has a smoke point, the temperature at which it burns. The lower the smoke point, the less favorable for cooking. Cooking oils past their smoke point can also produce unhealthy trans fats, diminishing their health benefits. Since unrefined sesame oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees F and extra virgin olive oil smokes at 406 degrees F, these oils can be used in cooking, but they may burn if you are using a high-heat cooking method such as pan-searing.

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