You’re probably familiar with canola oil, olive oil, and even avocado oil, but have you ever used sesame oil? A popular cooking oil used in Chinese, Japanese, and Middle Eastern cuisines, sesame oil is made from raw or toasted sesame seeds.
The seeds come from the sesame (Sesamum indicum) plant. The seeds themselves are high in protein and B-vitamins, but sesame oil doesn’t contain the protein or many of the essential vitamins and minerals. It does, however, keep the fatty acids and antioxidants, including vitamin E and phytosterols.
Sesame oils from raw seeds are light in color and have a delicate, neutral flavor. Toasted varieties, on the other hand, are darker, richer, and have a nuttier taste. Both have many culinary applications. Sesame oil is often used to saute meats and vegetables or is added to dressings and marinades.
Sesame oil is believed to have some important health benefits, like providing heart-healthy fats, combating inflammation, and protecting skin from sun damage. More research is needed to fully understand the benefits (and the potential risks) that sesame oil offers.
A one-tablespoon serving of sesame oil contains the following:
Protein: 0 grams
Fat: 14 grams
Carbohydrates: 0 grams
Fiber: 0 grams
Sugar: 0 grams
Sesame oil also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, both of which are polyunsaturated fats. They’re both essential fatty acids that help prevent several diseases, including heart disease and cancer. They also help improve immune function.
Potential Health Benefits of Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is full of antioxidants. Along with vitamin E and phytosterols, it contains lignans, sesamol, and sesaminol. These compounds help fight free radicals in your body, which may reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases.