Sesame oil is a highly beneficial essential oil extracted from the plant species Sesamum indicum L. which belongs to the Pedaliaceae family.
Different traditions have recognized its excellent nutritive quality and stability to oxidation, and some people dub it as “rich food” (1).
Sesame oil is widely available in local grocery stores or online. In the U.S., it is mostly used as an alternative for olive oil, as a salad topping or cooking oil.
Several sources of evidence have shown that sesame oil has high nutritional, cosmetic and therapeutic values. This is particularly due to its excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Here are 7 evidence-based health benefits of sesame oil.
- Rich in Nutrients
Oil extracted from sesame is a high-calorie food with a mild taste.
Most of its calories come from polyunsaturated fatty acids (85%) which have beneficial effects on your heart.
The oil is also a reliable source of vitamin E and K, calcium, phosphorus, and other macro and micro-nutrients. But, does not contains any fiber, protein or carbohydrate. One cup (218 grams) of sesame oil contains (2):
- Calories: 1927 Kcal
- Saturated Fatty acids: 31 grams
- Monounsaturated fatty acids: 86.5 grams
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 90.9 grams
- Omega-3: 654 milligrams
- Omega-6: 90042 milligrams
- Vitamin K: 29.5 micrograms, that is 37% of the recommended DV
- Vitamin E: 3.1 milligrams, that is 15% of the recommended DV
In addition, some experts argue that it can potentially help prevent diabetes by slowing sugar absorption, promote wound healing and treat rickets.
- Excellent Antioxidant Properties
Sesame oil is rich with sesaminol, sesamin, sesamolin, and other antioxidant compounds that exert hypocholesterolemic and immunomodulatory effects and possess vitamin E like activity.
Antioxidants are compounds that promote the integrity of body tissue and help reduce or slow down cell and tissue damage by protecting them from the effects of oxidative stress.
A study in 530 patients examined the effects of 35 grams daily serving of edible oils, most notably sesame oil, on blood pressure and lipid profiles and found that sesame oil helps reduce total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides levels and increases HDL “good cholesterol” levels (3).
To sum up, sesame oil has excellent antioxidant properties with proven favorable effects on atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.
- Promotes Wound and Burn Healing
Throughout history, sesame oil has been used as a folk remedy to treat wounds and burns.
A 2015 study on the effects of Olea ointment (topical honey ointment) on burn wounds used a combination of honey, olive oil and sesame oil to treat burns and reported that these three active ingredients promote tissue repair and prevent infections (4).
Another animal study examined the wound healing activity of sesame in rats and found that seeds and oil treatment with sesame stimulate wound epithelization and accelerates tissue regeneration (9).
In fine, sesame oil is used to treat wounds and burns and to relieve the pain induced by them. However, it may cause anaphylaxis and skin irritation for people with allergies.
- Boosts Heart Health
Cohort studies published by the American Heart Association report that a diet rich in unsaturated fatty acids is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and other beneficial health effects (5).
Sesame oil is rich in unsaturated fats which represent 85% of its total fat content.
In particular, Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, which are two types of polyunsaturated fatty acids, have shown to be inversely associated with the risk of heart failure and ischemic heart disease by reducing plasma triglyceride levels (6).
One animal study found that sesame oil exerts cardio-protective effects. This is particularly due to their richness in polyunsaturated fats and lipid content (7).
Overall, moderate consumption of sesame oil is highly beneficial to your heart.
- Good for Your Skin
In traditional medicine, topical application of a mixture of sesame oil, turmeric and milk on your face is believed to improve its texture and remove pimples.
On the other hand, a certain number of studies reported that sesame oil exerts protective effects against UV rays, which can cause wrinkles, sunburns and skin cancer (8).
In theory, UV irradiation produce reactive oxygen species which are agents of oxidative stress that deteriorate the skin. To deal with this threat, the antioxidant defense of sesame oil lowers the levels of oxidative stress, and thus enhances your skin’s ability to repair itself.
However, we still recommend using sunscreen since dietary measures cannot fully protect you from UV irradiations.