Cooking oils are—or at the very least, should be—mainstays in any pantry. Whether you use them to cook, marinade, dress, or drizzle, a little goes a long way when it comes to adding flavor and body to your favorite foods (as well as giving your stir fry or scrambled eggs zero reason to stick to the skillet). To extend your healthy cooking oil rotation beyond the more neutrally-flavored EVOO and avocado oils, look to sesame oil: it’s rich in health benefits, is super versatile, and brings majorly delicious flavor to the table.
To learn more about sesame oil benefits, the types of sesame oil you have to choose from, and the best ways to integrate each one into your dishes, we spoke to Jennifer Maeng, MS, RD, LD, CDN, CNSC, founder of Chelsea Nutrition.
Sesame oil benefits
To begin, Maeng highlights that sesame oil is integral in numerous cultural cuisines worldwide, particularly calling out its ubiquity in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Southern Indian, and Middle Eastern meals. Based on its savory, nutty flavor and impressive nutritional properties, it’s easy to see why it’s been revered around the world for centuries.
1. Sesame oil is good for your heart and cardiovascular system
To start, sesame oil is heart-healthy. “It’s composed of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, both of which have been found to lower the risk of developing heart disease,” Maeng begins.
Further, according to Maeng, the antioxidant properties of sesame oil also offer cardiac protection. As a 2017 review in the Cureus Journal of Medical Science explains, sesame oil “can decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels while maintaining high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels,” thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis (a disease characterized by a buildup of plaque in the arteries).
2. Sesame oil helps to regulate blood sugar
“Studies have also shown that consumption of sesame oil slows the release of glucose into the blood, thus helping to keep blood sugar levels stable for people with type 2 diabetes,” Maeng says. One such study, published in 2019 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, found that light sesame oil played an important role in reducing the fasting …….