Sesame oil, derived from sesame seeds, is commonly used as a cooking oil or as a flavor enhancer in Indian, Chinese and Korean cuisine. Sesame oil contains essential omega-6 fatty acids, as well as other nutritious compounds and oils. The consumption and topical application of sesame oil has a number of potential benefits in maintaining health and preventing disease.
One benefit of sesame is its antibacterial properties. Specific bacteria are needed for proper health, with bacteria in the gut, mouth and on the skin helping maintain organ functioning and integrity. However, abnormal growth of bacteria can lead to infections and disease. "The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine" indicates that sesame oil helps kill excess bacteria and can be used as a potent antibacterial mouthwash. Using sesame oil as a topical treatment or a dietary supplement may therefore help protect against abnormal bacterial growth in the body and prevent disease.
Sesame oil also delivers benefits associated with its antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are a group of chemicals that neutralize small molecules in the cells called free radicals. Left alone, free radicals interact with proteins and genetic information in cells, leading to cellular damage that could eventually cause a disease such as cancer. Antioxidants, therefore, inhibit free radical damage to your cells. VegPeace.org explains that sesame oil contains a chemical called phytate, which acts as an antioxidant in cells. Adding sesame to your diet, along with other sources of antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables, may help prevent cellular damage and genetic alterations and decrease your risk of developing cancer and other diseases.
Sesame oil may provide health benefits to those individuals with high blood pressure, or hypertension. People with hypertension are at increased risk for blood vessel damage and stroke. A number of lifestyle factors may contribute to high blood pressure, including your activity level, an overweight condition, chronic stress, lack of sleep and a poor diet. A study with hypertensive rats that was published in the November 2001 issue of "Hypertension Research" indicated that sesamin, a compound found in sesame oil, may help lower blood pressure.
- The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine; Kristine M. Krapp and Jacqueline L. Longe
- VegPeace.org: Sesame
- Hypertension Research: Effects of Vitamin E and Sesamin on Hypertension and Cerebral Thrombogenesis in Stroke-Prone Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.