One of my favourite things about Japanese food is their adoration for sesame oil. The Japanese have had a long tradition of using the nutty flavour and aroma of toasted sesame seeds in a whole bunch of dishes from braised vegetables, to fried noodles and even with tempura-fried items as a topping. A few days back, I overheard a conversation between two dating lovebirds at a small Izakaya who boasted about how he used sesame oil to help treat his acne outbreak. While it is not the sort of chatter I would appreciate on my first date, it did get me mildly intrigued. How can this beloved ingredient play a part in the maintenance of our beautiful skin?
What Is Sesame Oil?
As a general overview, the sesame oil that we often see is a staple ingredient in most Japanese kitchens. Be it as a way to deep fry dishes like tempura (because of its high smoke point) as vegetable oil or as a way to add a dash of flavour into a dish as a flavour enhancer, sesame oil has many uses in the kitchen. How sesame oil is derived is by drying sesame seeds (they look just like small brown seeds that we see in some of our pastries) at low heat before they are crushed for the oil extraction process. Of course, the entire extraction and distillation process is much more complicated for us to detail down but the gist of it is that the sesame oil we get at the store is usually made without any preservatives whatsoever.
It has been discovered many centuries ago that within sesame seeds lie an abundance of vitamins like vitamin E and vitamin K, alongside other organic compounds that would be beneficial to our body. By extension, sesame oil would give us those very same benefits as well. The thing about sesame oil is that it is used widely in the skincare industry despite us not hearing much about it, read on to find out how sesame oil could radically benefit our skin and our health!
Benefits Of Sesame Oil
There are plenty of health benefits and nutritional value to including sesame oil into your diet. But as the saying goes, “too much of anything is bad”. Before you start overloading your salads with sesame oil, use this oil sparingly first to see how your body might react to the sudden change to sesame oil. If all is clear, proceed with caution by gradually increasing the amount of oil used.
Neutralises Skin Issues
Since centuries ago, sesame oil has been reported to be excellent in treating skin conditions like acne breakouts and dry skin. Due to the antioxidant compound of sesamol, a massage with sesame oil on your face and skin has been found to improve your blood circulation and this would go a long way in eliminating debris that clogs your skin pores. In the process, your acne issues would start showing signs of improvement. On that note, the high content of zinc also has the potential to help increase your skin elasticity and smoothness.
Protects Your Heart
Due to its rich fatty acid content, sesame oil has been discovered to be extremely friendly to our heart. What we are saying is that sesame oil has the potential to replace the other vegetable or cooking oil that we use in our woks. We say this because of studies that have shown how sesame oil has the ability to lower our bad cholesterol levels due to the range of polyunsaturated fatty acids within it, including sesamol and sesamin. When these fatty acids are introduced into our system, our cardiovascular system would remain fighting fit, while the lower bad cholesterol levels would do the good work for us in preventing atherosclerosis. Aren’t you relieved just by hearing that news?
Calms Your Nerves
Something spectacular about sesame oil is that it has compounds within it that have been linked to serotonin activity. Tyrosine, in particular, has the ability to help improve your mood by channelling enzymes and hormones that make one feel joy and happiness to the different parts of your body. This would work very well in the diets of those who are currently managing mental illnesses like anxiety or depression. Based on the studies, sesame oil has the potential to lift their spirits and help them manage their daily lives better.
Improves Your Circulation
Our body requires a considerable amount of copper for it to function at peak performance and this is because of the importance of copper as a compound that is required in the production of red blood cells. Thanks to the amount of copper found in sesame oil, our body would find its supply of red blood cells adequate enough to support the different needs of organs and tissues around our body and this would go miles in helping us endure a healthier lifestyle.