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Is Sesame Oil Good for High Cholesterol?

By Adam Cloe Ph.D./M.D.

Oils can be derived from a variety of different plants, including the sesame plant. Vegetable oils, including sesame oil, can be beneficial if you have high cholesterol and want to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Sesame oil alone is unlikely to significantly impact your cholesterol levels, but it can be utilized as part of an overall change in your lifestyle to promote the health of your cardiovascular system.

What Is Sesame Oil?

The sesame plant was first used as a crop in Assyria and Babylon more than 4,000 years ago. The seeds of the sesame plant are very rich in oil, as approximately half of the seeds' weight consists of sesame oil. The sesame plant is cultivated both for its seeds as well as its oil. Sesame oil is relatively stable compared to other vegetable oils and once the oil has been extracted from the sesame plant, the resulting meal can be feed to livestock.

Sesame Oil Cholesterol Content

One of the main advantages of cooking with sesame oil is that it does not contain any cholesterol. Cholesterol is only found in animals and is not present in any plants. As a result, using sesame oil as a substitute for butter, lard or other animal-based fats will lower the cholesterol content of your meal. Sesame oil is also low in saturated fat, which also helps prevent high cholesterol.

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Other Components of Sesame Oil

In addition to being free of cholesterol, sesame oil also has some compounds that may help lower your cholesterol levels. Sesame oil is rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant vitamin that helps lower your cholesterol levels and protects your blood vessels from atherosclerosis. Sesame oil also contains other compounds, such as sesamin and sesamolin, that may help lower your blood pressure, a 2006 article in the "Yale Journal of Biological Medicine" notes. Lowering your blood pressure can help prevent atherosclerosis, a major complication of high cholesterol levels.

Considerations

Although sesame oil has some properties that can help you lower your cholesterol levels, consuming sesame oil alone is unlikely to have a significant effect on your cholesterol levels. However, if you incorporate sesame oil into a healthy lifestyle that includes a diet that is low in cholesterol and saturated fat and includes an exercise program, you can lower your cholesterol levels and protect your cardiovascular system.

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