We hear a lot about the benefits of olive oil and the dangers of hydrogenated oils, but what about sesame oil? This vegetable oil is often considered a staple in Asian cuisines, but in the Western world, much less is known about it. Here are some of the multifaceted benefits of sesame oil, as well as a few mouth-watering recipes.

1. Support heart health

Of all the benefits of sesame oil, the most important of all is its ability to support the heart. As an anti-inflammatory, sesame oil acts to prevent atherosclerotic lesions, a chronic disease of the heart. Sesamol, an active ingredient in sesame oil, is packed with more than two dozen beneficial components for the heart.

2. Maintain soft skin

While tea tree oil is best known for supporting skin and hair, sesame oil also provides nutrient-dense fats that can soothe the skin. Sesame oil is considered a natural sunscreen containing vitamin E. It also moisturizes dry skin and can counter the effects of aging and wrinkles.

3. Powerful antioxidant

Sesame oil is a powerful antioxidant, meaning that it helps prevent free radicals from multiplying in the body. Free radicals have been known to play a role in various disease processes, including cancer and neurological disorders.

4. Preserve joint flexibility

Sesame oil has frequently been associated with joint health. One surprising study showed that the potent oil exerted a more positive impact than its contender–an arthritis drug for the knees.

5. Support oral health

There are many supposed facts about food that we question. However, sesame oil’s ability to bolster oral health is well-documented in medical research. Rinsing the mouth with sesame oil has been shown to lower streptococcus mutants in both the teeth and saliva.

6. Great source of protein

Some will claim that you can only obtain a sufficient amount of protein from meat. However, this is far from true. Sesame oil is one of many vegetarian sources of protein, containing nearly five grams per ounce.

7. Protect against diabetes

One of the more surprising benefits of sesame oil is that it can actually help stave off diabetes. A 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that sesame oil complemented and increased the effectiveness of an anti-diabetic drug.

8. Lower blood pressure

Something about sesame oil seems to induce a positive effect when consumed by those with hypertension. It is believed that the high magnesium content in the oil is responsible for stabilizing blood pressure.

Five Great Recipes Using Sesame Oil

Stir fry with sesame oil

benefits of sesame oil

via the Perfect Pantry

This delicious and nutrient-dense Asian dish from The Perfect Pantry couples savory with a bit of spice. The stir fry includes bok choy, ginger, and garlic, and takes just minutes to prepare at home.

Mango pickle

mango

via tarladalal.com

You may be wondering what on earth mango pickle is, but you’ll be glad you took the time to whip some up. This traditional Indian snack combines ingredients you wouldn’t expect to mesh so tastefully. In the end, you’ll have a refreshing dish of both spicy and sweet flavors.

Sesame noodles

benefits of sesame oil

via The Pioneer Women Cooks

If you’re in the mood for something simple, sesame noodles are a great staple for those learning to cook. This carefully concocted recipe is chock full of all the right flavors to satisfy and fill you up–like garlic, chili, and green onion.

Sesame oil chicken wings

chick

via allrecipes

This recipe will make its way straight to a meat-eater’s heart, giving a casual appetizer an exotic spin. You don’t have to be a pro chef to throw together this nine ingredient recipe in your skillet.

Sesame green beans

sesame oil

via foodnetwork

This recipe makes for a perfect healthy side dish with only six basic ingredients. In just 10 minutes you will have a plate of savory vegetables you won’t have to force yourself to eat.

Featured photo credit: Chamille White via shutterstock.com

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