What Are the Health Benefits of Sesame Oil?

Sesame seed nad oil
Sesame seeds and sesame oil. (Image: YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images)

Sesame oil is pressed from the tiny sesame seed. There are numerous compounds and antioxidants within the sesame seed that are imparted into the oil. According to the Thomas Jefferson Agricultural Institute, sesame seeds are so beneficial that even after they have been pressed and the oil has been drained, the seed hulls can be fed to livestock. Although the oil is primarily used for dietary consumption, it's also a desired ingredient in cosmetics due to its high antioxidant content.

Lower Blood Pressure

Udon noodles with vegetables and chicken
Sesame oil is often found in Asian cuisine. (Image: VeselovaElena/iStock/Getty Images)

Sesame oil has a lowering effect on blood pressure and levels of sodium in the blood. A study done in India and reported in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine shows that when subjects with high blood pressure were asked to consume sesame oil for 45 days, their blood pressure returned to normal readings. It was also documented that the research subjects lost weight while undergoing the addition of sesame oil. The effects were temporary, however. When the participants stopped taking the sesame oil, their blood pressure readings went back up. This could be in part to the fact that the sesame oil lowered sodium content in the body, acting as a diuretic.

To enjoy the benefits of lower blood pressure, make a commitment to make sesame oil a daily part of your diet. If you're on medication for blood pressure, be sure to speak with your physician first.

Lower Blood Sugar

olive oil
Drizzle sesame oil on salad. (Image: Alfred Nesswetha/iStock/Getty Images)

Sesame oil also is good for blood sugar levels. A report in the "Journal of Medicinal Foods" labeled sesame oil as having an influence on the lowering of glucose. In the study, rats with diabetes were split up and some were fed sesame oil; the other group was not. The group fed the sesame oil had a significant decrease in blood sugar levels, and had an increase in antioxidant compounds in the blood.

Drizzling some sesame oil on a tossed salad, in place of olive oil, is a great way to add it to your diet to reap its health benefits.

Skin Benefits

Aesthetician Who Anoints Womans Knee With Oil
Applying sesame oil to the skin. (Image: DAJ/amana images/Getty Images)

The antioxidants in sesame oil impart benefits to the skin from the inside. It helps enhance the effects of vitamin E and other antioxidants, but it also benefits the skin when used on the outside. Anne McIntyre, a medical herbalist, published a report in Ayurveda on the benefits people see when using sesame oil on the skin. Those who use it have seen a decrease in skin infections and improvement in joint pain, due to the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties sesame oil contains. The report also states that the anti-cancer properties of sesame oil can be applied to the skin from the outside, as it has been shown to slow the development and growth of the skin cancer, melanoma.

To use sesame oil on the skin, Ayurvedic practice (a system of holistic medicine originating in India) recommends rubbing it all over the skin, then waiting 15 minutes before taking a hot shower or bath. As the oil soaks into the skin it has a detoxifying effect, and the warm water helps it soak in deeper.

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