With the growing awareness around health, people nowadays have a fair idea about the various varieties of fats – Good and Bad. Good fat is termed as the one which is helpful in lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke, reduces LDL cholesterol levels, lowers down triglycerides and prevents atherosclerosis. It includes mono-unsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats. Examples being olive oil, sesame oil, flaxseeds, almonds, walnuts, avocados, sesame and pumpkin seeds, fatty fish and fish oils. These healthy fats keep one satiated after meals, thereby reducing hunger and promoting weight loss.
Bad fats on the other hand not only raise LDL cholesterol levels but also lower down HDL levels. They can cause inflammation, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, and other chronic conditions and contribute to insulin resistance.
When talking about good fats, people relate very well to olive oil, flaxseeds, avocados, nuts and fishes but the most downplayed good fat is sesame oil. Yes, it has a lot of health benefits which very few of us know about.
- Helpful in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Sesame seeds are a rich source of copper, zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium. The oil extracted from these, though losing out on some of these nutrients due to the extraction process, still holds good amounts of zinc and copper which are helpful in improving the blood circulation, metabolism, anti-inflammatory property and helps reduce arthritis pain.
- Powerhouse of Antioxidants: It contains Vitamin E and lignans (which are chemical compounds present in plants) which act as powerful antioxidants. Due to its this property, sesame oil does not turn rancid easily and is often used in beauty treatments.
- Lowers blood pressure: Studies indicate that sesame oil lowers blood pressure, decreases lipid peroxidation, and increases antioxidant status in hypertensive patients.
- Helps fight stress and depression: Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates our mood. Depression and stress can be a cause of an imbalance of serotonin, therefore, one must consume foods that help in the production of serotonin in order to feel positive. The best example of this is sesame oil. Sesame oil contains amino acid tyrosine which is directly associated with serotonin activity.
- Great for skin: Since sesame oil has a warming property and penetrates deeply into the skin, therefore, it is being extensively used in Ayurvedic messages. It also acts as a moisturiser and has anti-aging properties.
Though the use of oil in Indian cooking is varied, therefore, 2 types of sesame oils are being used. One is light sesame oil made from ripened sesame seeds and is suitable for deep-frying. While the other is dark sesame oil which is extracted from roasted sesame seeds and can be used for stir-frying and pickle making.