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What Are the Benefits of Sesame Seed Oil?

by Nadia Haris

Like olive oil, sesame seed oil is a plant oil that is often refined to give it a longer shelf life and flavor for food. This oil can be used as a salad dressing and for cooking and baking food. When it is used in moderation and in place of other unhealthier fats, sesame seed oil can provide several health benefits.

Uses and Nutrition

Sesame seed oil is a golden, lightly flavored plant oil that is sometimes used as a substitute for olive oil in European cuisine and for cooking fish in Japan. A tablespoon -- about 13.6 grams -- of pure sesame seed oil contains about 11 grams of healthier, unsaturated fats and around 2 grams of saturated fats. It provides 120 calories and also gives you small amounts of vitamin E, vitamin K and other nutrients.

Effects on Blood Pressure

Replacing unhealthy trans and saturated fats in your diet with sesame seed oil may help reduce body weight, high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Research published in 2006 in the "Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine" reported that hypertensive individuals who used sesame oil as their only edible oil for 45 days had lower blood pressure. However, these results diminished once the test subjects stopped using sesame oil.

Benefits for Diabetics

An animal study published in the "Journal of Medicinal Foods" in 2005 assessed the effects of sesame seed oil on diabetes. Diabetic rats that were fed a diet supplemented with 6 percent sesame seed oil for 42 days showed a significant reduction in blood glucose levels. Further clinical studies are needed to determine if sesame seed oil can also help people who have diabetes better control their blood glucose levels.

Antioxidant Effects

Sesame seed oil may raise levels of antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E in your body. According to a 2004 study in the "Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry," sesame cake extract contained compounds called lignans that helped remove toxins from the body. However, additional studies are needed to determine the amount and activity of antioxidants in sesame seed oil.

About the Author

Nadia Haris is a registered radiation therapist who has been writing about nutrition for more than six years. She is completing her Master of Science in nutrition with a focus on the dietary needs of oncology patients.

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