Sesame oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. Besides being used as a cooking oil in South India, it is used as a flavour enhancer in Middle Eastern, African, and Southeast Asian cuisines. It has a distinctive nutty aroma and taste.
The oil is popular in Asia and is also one of the earliest-known crop-based oils, but worldwide mass modern production continues to be limited even today due to the inefficient manual harvesting process required to extract the oil.
Sesame oil has been used for centuries in Asian cuisine. It also has medicinal purposes, especially in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is used as a base oil for about 90 percent of the herbal oils.
In Ayurvedic therapy, sesame oil is renowned for its ability to strengthen and detoxify the body and ensure the proper functioning of all the vital organs. It's also used in sacred and religious ceremonies. Today, sesame oil is a common component of skin and massage oils, hair care products, cosmetics, soaps, perfumes and sunscreens. Sesame oil has great moisturizing, soothing and emollient qualities.
In aromatherapy, it is popularly used as massage oil and carrier oil for essential oils.
Composition of Sesame Oil
Sesame oil contains high levels of natural antioxidants called sesamol, sesamolin and sesamin oils. Sesamin is a lignin with anti-inflammatory properties, and contains vitamin E, which helps keep your skin strong and supple.
Meanwhile, sesamol possesses over two dozen beneficial pharmacologically active properties, most of which work to improve cardiovascular health. Sesame oil contains 15 percent saturated fat, 42 percent oleic acid and 43 percent omega-6 linoleic acid, with a composition similar to peanut oil. It is also loaded with B-complex vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine and folic acid.
It's rich in amino acids that are essential in building up proteins, and minerals like iron, copper, calcium, manganese, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus and zinc.
Benefits Of Sesame Oil
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