Say Open Sesame – to Discover the Miraculous Benefits of this Unbelievably Healthy Oil

ImageJust as Alibaba opened the door to unbelievable fortune in the Arabian Nights- with one simple phrase- “Open Sesame”, you too can benefit from the distinguishing richness of the sesame seed, which is a treasure of nutrients.

Revered in alternative medicine as a healing oil since the Babylonians, it aides cardiovascular health, detoxifies body, fights ageing and strengthens bones. Cold-pressed sesame oil is a treasure of healthy fats, antioxidants and natural resistance. Sesame oil comes in two varieties- toasted and un-toasted. When sesame seeds are dry roasted prior to oil extraction, the oil is richer in flavor and darker in color. The other kind is the light golden variety, which has a milder flavor but a higher smoke point.

Sesame is packed with Nutrients

Nature has blessed Sesame oil with 3 really powerful compounds that are found nowhere else, namely – Sesamol, Sesamin and Sesamolin. Moreover, it is rich in omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, and other essential vitamins and minerals. However, in order to enjoy the maximum benefits of this power-packed healthy oil, one should use cold pressed sesame oil over the processed, supermarket variety. Cold-pressed oils are produced by crushing/pressing oil seeds and fruits with heavy granite millstones or modern stainless steel presses. The process is done with low-level heat, to preserve the minerals, vitamins and essential fats in the oil.  This process gives lower yield than modern methods but the oil produced is healthy and natural.

  • The Vitamin E and Sesamol, a unique compound in sesame, have been found to have fantastic antioxidant properties
  • Sesamin & sesamolin are cholesterol-lowering agents and protect the liver from oxidative damage
  • Zinc strengthens bones
  • Recent studies recommend sesame oil to Diabetics over any other oil.
  • Copper soothes rheumatoid arthritis pain
  • Calcium prevents osteoporosis, migraine and colon cancer
  • Magnesium supports respiratory health.

Cardiovascular Benefits of Sesame Oil

  • The poly-unsaturated fats in organic sesame oil restrains  hypertension and blood pressure
  • Sesamin, lowers blood pressure, reduces the formation and absorption of cholesterol- and so helps maintain cardiac health.

Beauty Benefits of Sesame Oil

Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, acknowledges sesame oil as an important healing oil.

  • Sesame oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which nourish and detoxify damaged skin and hair.
  • Oil-pulling with sesame oil promotes oral hygiene and rids body of harmful toxins.
  • Massage with Sesame oil for youthful skin as it counterbalances free-radicals, a major cause of aging.
  • Apply sesame oil on sunburns, skin allergies, dandruff and eczema to benefit from it’s anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

Cooking with Sesame Oil

Derived from Sesame seeds, this oil has a distinct aroma and flavor that is slightly sweet and nutty. The virgin, cold-pressed variety is strong in flavor, and is almost essential in oriental cooking. You can use Sesame oil for sauteing vegetables, chicken and sea-food. Not particularly suited for frying, but you can sprinkle it over dishes, and salads before serving to add a lovely flavor profile. Still, cold-pressed sesame oil holds on at a higher smoking point than most other organic oils. This is due to the stabilizing properties of sesamin and sesamol that are naturally present in it. These compounds prevent sesame oil from going stale even when stored in the the open.

Advertisements

Raw Honey- The Food of Gods

Here is amber honey sweet, in a crystal bowl. Sun kissed food the fairies eat. Nectar for the Soul – Ann Fairbairn Image

Honey has been praised as “the food for gods” in the scriptures of yore. So is this delicious liquid gold really good for you? Definitely, but being rich in calories- only in moderation. This natural sweetener is packed with natural goodness. Being predigested by the bees, honey is easily metabolized and is extremely rich in nutrients. So much so- that many consider it to be the perfect food. No wonder then, that pots of golden honey were discovered in the pyramids of the great pharaohs.

Benefits of Natural Honey

  • Natural honey is primarily composed of two sugars- laevulose and dextrose. Both of these do not require to be broken down further, and so, are quickly absorbed into the blood stream. This gives the body an instant energy boost.
  • Honey is also rich in amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and no cholesterol. Vitamins and minerals in honey include- vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. The exact nutritional profile of honey depends on the floral source of the honey.
  • It contains some potassium salts that eliminate germs and bacteria, even more than some antibiotics. This is why natural honey can never get spoilt. Recent studies recommend using it as a topical treatment for burns and ulcers.
  • The potassium salts in honey also help in lowering blood pressure.
  • Is helpful for fighting obesity and losing weight when taken with lemon or cinnamon on an empty stomach.
  • It’s a great beauty aid and is recommended as a mask to attain glowing silk and lustrous hair.
  • Cures constipation when taken at night with milk.
  • Has some well known antioxidants like chrysin, pinobanksin, catalase, pinocembrin and vitamin C.

Raw Honey v/s Pasteurized Honey

Most of us buy bottled honey from super markets. These bottles are often labeled as ‘natural honey’, however, this is not usually accurate.   Most commercially available bottled honey is in fact pasteurized, to prevent it from crystallizing, and increasing its shelf life.

The commercial, pasteurized honey has been heated at 161 °F (71.7 °C) or higher for the pasteurization and filtered for the appealing, golden glass effect of bottled honey. Although, it makes the honey easier to store and use, pasteurization partially destroys honey’s fragile aromas, yeast and enzymes which make honey so healthy, and are responsible for stimulating vitamins and minerals into the body. According to the “Bee Hive Product Bible”, pasteurized honey has 30-50 percent lesser vitamin content than natural honey.

How is Organic, Raw Honey Different?

Raw honey isn’t very appealing to the eyes. Unlike the beautiful golden liquid available at the super-store, natural honey is slightly cloudy at room temperature since its crystallization properties aren’t harmed by the heat. Unlike popular belief, crystallization is not a sign of honey gone bad, it’s just a natural property of it.

Raw honey is filtered but only to rid it of the dirt and minor particles of the bee-hive, safeguarding all the healthy enzymes, minerals and vitamins that give honey its wondrous quality.

So go on, buy yourself a jar of raw, organic honey from the farmer’s market or a trusted organic store to enjoy the benefits of this wondrous gift of Gaia.