People love our Sesame Oils so much that we thought we should talk about why sesame oil is so great. Apart from helping to make food taste delicious, sesame has a rich history due to its amazingly diverse nutritional profile. Here are the top 4 reasons we LOVE sesame Oil:
1. An Ancient Food
Sesame is a flowering plant native to the East Indies. It’s believed to be one of the oldest crops used for oil, as sesame seeds are made up of as much as 60% oil. Most species of sesame are wild and grow in the Middle East, although the cultivated form originated in India over 3000 years ago (1).
Sesame Oil in India
Indian people revere sesame and both the oil and seeds are used in traditional cooking methods, religious rituals, Ayurvedic medicine, and topically for skin nourishment. The magical phrase “Open Sesame” is derived from the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves and is thought to be due to the value, and possibly mysterious power of sesame at the time. And Babylonian woman are believed to have consumed a mixture of honey and sesame seeds for health and beauty.
2. A Super Seed
We now know that sesame gets its reputation from a few key factors. Sesame is a good source of vitamins and minerals. One serving has more than your daily copper needs, as well as significant levels of manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, selenium, vitamin E, and vitamin B1 (2).
Additionally, sesame has high levels of potent antioxidants, namely sesamol and sesamin (3). It is due to these antioxidants that sesame oil usually has a fairly long shelf life and is not prone to rancidity (4).
Treating sesame seeds with heat to extract oils is commonplace in many sesame oil products. This is shown to significantly decrease the levels of nutrients and antioxidants present in the oils by the time it hits the shelves (5). Because of this, the most nutrient dense sesame oils are made using a low heat, expeller pressed process.
Our Sesame Oils use this low heat process. This ensures that our Extra Virgin Sesame Oil, Roasted Sesame Oil, and Spicy Sesame Oil all contain the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are found naturally in sesame seeds.
3. Disease-fighting Power
The high levels of antioxidants in sesame have a wide range of benefits when added as a regular part of your diet:
1. Can decrease free radical damage (6)
2. Assists lowering high blood sugar in diabetes type 2 patients (7)
3. Prevents plaguing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) with other heart protective properties (8, 9)
4. Can lower blood pressure (10)
5. Boosts HDL (good) cholesterol and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol levels (11)
4. Great for Skin and Oral Health
The significant levels of zinc found in sesame explain its role in contributing to better skin when applied topically. Zinc has been shown to absorb well into deep levels of the skin, while decreasing inflammation and bacterial growth of wounds (12).
Sesame oil is also used for improved oral health. It has been documented for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine in the tradition of oil pulling, a practice that involves swishing oil around the mouth. It is proven to prevent tooth decay, bleeding gums, dry mouth, and improve teeth, gums, and jaw health (13). Just take 1-2 tablespoons of our Extra Virgin Sesame Oil in the morning (great to do while showering!) and swish for 10-20 minutes for best results. For more about oil pulling, check out our article on Oil Pulling with Sesame Oil .
Trying Sesame Oil at Home
Interested in trying sesame oil at home? Chosen Foods Sesame Oil’s are a quick way to add a delicious flavor and mild spice to any dish. Drizzle it over some sliced avocado with salt and pepper for an easy snack – or use it in your soups & stir-fry’s to easily boost the flavor of your dish. Incredible versatile, this oil is a must have for the quick chef!
- Evidence for cultivation of sesame in the ancient world, Economic Botany, 1986: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02859136
- Value addition in sesame: A perspective in bioactive components for enhancing utility and profitability, Pharmacogn Rev, 2014: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4127822/
- Antioxidant activity of white and black sesame seeds and their hull fractions, Good Chemistry, 2006: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814605006801
- Changes of ingredients in the process of cooking sesame oil, Anc Sci Life, 1992: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3336598/
- Sesamin, sesamolin, and sesamol content of the oil of sesame seed as affected by…, Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, 1955: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02640380
- Free radical scavenging behavior of antioxidant compounds of sesame, J Agric Food Chem, 2004: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14969550/
- Sesame oil exhibits synergistic effect anti-diabetic medication in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, Clin. Nutr., 2011: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21163558
- Putative antioxidant property a sesame oil in an oxidative stress model of myocardial injury, J Cardiovasc Dis Res, 2013: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24396257
- Sesamin attenuates intercellular cell adhesion molecult-1 expression…, Mol Nutr Food Res, 2010: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20306475
- Effect of sesame oil on diuretics or beta-blockers in the modulation of blood pressure, anthropometry, lipid profile, and redox status, Yale J Biol Med, 2006: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1942178/
- Sesame as a hypocholesteraemic and antioxidant dietary component, Food Chem Toxicol, 2008: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18353516/
- Studies on zinc in wound healing, Acta Derm Venerol Suppl, 1990: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2275309
- Tooth brushing, oil pulling, and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health, J Ayurveda Integr Med, 2011: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3131773/