Sesame has been around for more than 5,000 years, but it may be one of the most nutrient-rich foods still in use today! It’s capable of improving skin, hair and heart health, stimulating bone growth, reducing blood pressure and even helping to manage anxiety and depression. Talk about multi-tasking!
Here are five ways sesame oil can make you look and feel healthier, and stay that way.
Smooth, Silky Skin
Sesame oil is full of zinc, an essential mineral for increasing your skin’s elasticity and making it smooth and silky to the touch. Applied directly to the skin, it can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and age spots by creating a protecting layer that defends against UVB rays and toxins like pollution. Very handy on those hot, smoggy days in Hong Kong!
According to Ayurveda, sesame oil is also ideal for use in morning self massages or Abhyanga. This aims to remove toxins from the body, reduce physical stress, strengthen tissues and improve the appearance of skin. To do this, warm sesame oil to the temperature of tepid water and massage copious amounts firmly into your skin. Then, just chill out - don’t wash it off for 15-30 minutes! This massage is ideal for a pre-shower rub down before your morning shower, although of course you can use it any time you like!
Healthy, Happy Hair
Many of us damage our hair every day without even thinking about it, whether through the use of soaps, shampoos, hair colouring, rollers or straighteners. Sesame oil can help return your hair to its natural, healthy state and can even darken hair colour and stop hair loss. Just as with your skin, sesame oil deep conditions the scalp and improves the quality of hair follicles.
Frazzled, frizzy hair? No problem - apply warm sesame oil to the scalp as part of a deep conditioning treatment! Massaging the ends of your hair with sesame oil can also get rid of split ends. Dandruff or psoriasis? Sesame oil provides nourishment to your hair follicles, reducing flakiness and dryness.
Going out and need your mane to shine? Just take 4-5 drops of sesame oil and run them through your hair using your fingertips. What’s more, its anti-bacterial effects can help to eliminate any pathogens that might attack your scalp or hair. That means it’s even a natural way to attack your children’s inevitable attacks of nits!
Sesame oil isn’t just good for rubbing into your skin - it tastes delicious too! Both your tastebuds and your heart can thank its fatty acid content for that. As well as being a tasty alternative to cooking with vegetable oils, ingesting sesame oil keeps your cardiovascular system in balance and your cholesterol low. This means that a regular dash of sesame oil in your cooking can protect you from heart attacks, heart disease and strokes.
Sesame oil can also safely lower levels of blood sugar, combating diabetes and improving the effectiveness of some antidiabetic drugs in Type 2 patients.
Sesame oil can make your smile shine! It’s highly recommended by dental professionals for a process called “oil pulling”. That simply means swishing oil around your mouth and spitting it out. The powerful antibacterial effects of sesame oil can lead to whiter teeth, less dental plaque, better breath and protection against certain streptococcus bacteria that can cause illnesses from sore throats to meningitis.
Sesame oil has been directly linked to a slowing of development of some cancers, including lung, ovarian, prostate and renal cancers as well as leukemia. It’s anti-cancer effects are thanks to an organic compound it contains - phytate. It also contains high levels of magnesium, which have been found to be beneficial in preventing colon cancer.
Whether you massage sesame oil into your skin and scalp, or add a little to your daily cooking, you’ll soon feel the benefits and find yourself stocking up on this most ancient of condiments. Enjoy!