While it requires a little ‘getting used to’, sesame oil is unique in its characteristics and once you start taking it, you will learn that it can be used in many interesting ways to spruce up your everyday dishes. Besides adding an extra dose of flavour, it will also give a healthy spin to your food. How?
Here’s what makes it good for you –
1. High Source of Unsaturated Fats
Sesame oil primarily contains unsaturated fats. According to the nutritional value chart of sesame oil, per 100 grams contain 40 grams monounsaturated fats, 42 grams polyunsaturated fats and about 14 grams saturated fats. According to a study done by Harvard Medical School, not all fats are enemies of our heart. Unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), may significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
2. Helps in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Sesame seeds are loaded with copper, zinc, magnesium, iron and calcium. It is particularly known for its zinc and copper contents, which help in the production of red blood cells, blood circulation and metabolism. Copper is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and helps reduce arthritis pain, swelling of joints and strengthens the bones.
3. Antioxidants to the Rescue
Sesame oil contains a chemical compound known as lignans, which are commonly found in plants. Lignans are known for their unique chemical and physiological properties, and especially credited with being a powerful antioxidant. Sesame oil also contains Vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant. Because of these reasons it doesn’t turn rancid easily and is commonly used in beauty treatments.
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
According to a study by an Indian researcher from Annamalai University and published in Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, “Sesame oil as edible oil lowers blood pressure, decreases lipid peroxidation, and increases antioxidant status in hypertensive patients.”
5. Great for the Skin
It is commonly used in beauty treatments for the skin because it is an excellent moisturiser, promotes regeneration of healthy skin, has anti-aging properties, and is considered to be a natural SPF. It is also used extensively as a massaging oil because of its warming property and its ability to seep deep into the skin.
6. Helps Fight Stress and Depression
Sesame oil contains an amino acid known as tyrosine, which is directly connected to serotonin activity. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which impacts our mood. An imbalance of it could lead to depression and stress. According to experts, consuming foods that help in the production of serotonin helps in feeling positive, keeping chronic stress at bay. Sesame oil is a good example of that.
7. Oil Pulling for Oral Health
A tablespoon of oil is taken on an empty stomach and swished around in the mouth for 20 minutes and then spat out. It is believed to remove toxins from the body. Sesame oil is commonly used for this practice because of its medicinal properties.
How to Use Sesame Oil
Sesame oil can be used to directly replace other edible oils. If you are new to it, try using smaller portions to get accustomed to its taste. Gradually, you can start experimenting with different flavours and learn how it teams with other ingredients. It is commonly used in Asian cuisine, particularly for stir-fries. A quick tip is to add a teaspoon of the oil in a heated wok, tip in chopped vegetables of your choice, add seasonings and herbs and stir-fry on high heat for a few minutes before serving. You can also add it to your salads and marinades. It is quite versatile.