10 Amazing Health Benefits of Switching to Gingelly Oil
The sesame plant is a flowering plant whose seeds grow in a capsule after the flower is pollinated and dries up. The sesame seed capsule is dehiscent, which means that at a certain stage of maturity the capsule splits and the seeds burst out and scatter. Evolution may have designed the plant this way to ensure that the seeds are spread far away from the parent. But today, when sesame, or til as we know it in India, is a valuable crop, cultivated for its seeds and the oil extracted from them, this characteristic poses challenges for farmers. It is manually harvested to prevent loss of seeds due to spontaneous scattering. This explains why the production and use of gingelly oil or sesame oil is limited despite it being a healthy oil option. Here’s a bit of trivia: It is this characteristic of the plant that the saying “Open Sesame” has come from. Sesame is cultivated all over the world, but the largest producers are India and China. In southern India, gingelly oil is used both as a cooking medium and an external applicant in body and hair massages. Sesame, in both seed and oil forms, is also widely used in South-east Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines. It has one of the highest oil content among seeds. It is valued for its nutty flavour, especially in South-East Asian cooking. Sesame is one of the oldest oilseeds in cultivation. The oil extracted from it – gingelly oil - is said to be one of the healthiest seed oils and can easily replace most of the oils that are used in daily cooking. The health benefits of gingelly oil have been acknowledged by both, ancient physicians and modern doctors. It has an amazing nutrient profile with notable amounts of manganese, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and smaller amounts of many others. External application of gingelly oil, too, has huge health benefits. We may be well advised to make gingelly oil a part of our daily diet and body-care routine. Types of gingelly oil Based on methods of cultivation, extraction and treatment there are various types of gingelly oils in the market. Each has its own distinctive property, flavour and uses.
1. Unrefined gingelly oil: This is oil which has not been treated or refined in any way and is produced from commercially grown, non-organic sesame seeds. Gingelly oil is high in anti-oxidants and the unrefined variety has the highest quantity of antioxidants of all. Therefore, unrefined gingelly oil is least prone to getting spoilt or rancid. This type of gingelly oil has a light golden amber colour and the characteristic ‘nutty’ flavour. It has a high smoke point and is most suitable for stir frying. Besides anti-oxidants, unrefined gingelly oil also has a good number of minerals such as magnesium, copper, calcium and vitamin B6 as well.
2. Refined gingelly oil: Refined gingelly oil is lighter in colour and the flavour is also less pronounced. It does not flavour the food cooked in it. It has a higher smoke point than unrefined oil and is good for methods of cooking using high heat such as deep frying.
3. Toasted gingelly oil: Toasted gingelly oil or dark gingelly oil is extracted from the sesame seed that have been toasted. It is dark in colour, rather like coffee, and has a very strong nutty flavour. It has a very low smoke point and is unsuitable for cooking. It is used as a flavouring in salads, marinades and dips. Sometimes it is added to stir fries after it has been taken off the heat to impart extra flavour. As the flavour is intense, a very small amount of the oil is needed.
4. Cold pressed gingelly oil: In cold pressed extraction, only pressure is applied to the sesame seeds to extract the oil. At no stage is any heat applied in the process of extraction. This ensures that most of the nutrients in the oil are preserved during the extraction process and the resulting oil has the richest nutrient profile of all the varieties. This process takes more time than others but the oil produced is considered better.
5. Organic gingelly oil: Organic gingelly oil, is the oil that is extracted from organically grown sesame seeds. These plants are grown without any pesticides or chemicals. These plants grow slower as they are not given growth enhancers and the yield may also be lower than non-organic crops. Organic gingelly oil is perhaps the most expensive of all. Let us look at the benefits of switching to gingelly oil, both for cooking our food and for use as a body care oil for our hair and body externally. Benefits of switching to gingelly oil for cooking
1. Keeps the heart healthy: Gingelly oil has a compound called sesamol. Sesamol is an anti-oxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent and is extremely good for a healthy heart as it prevents the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries. Gingelly oil is also loaded with magnesium which is an important mineral for keeping hypertension in control. Gingelly oil is known to reduce LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol and increase the level of HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol.
2. Prevents diabetes: Gingelly oil has been known to be very effective in combatting diabetes. Not only does it lower the glucose in the blood and hypertension in diabetics, it also improves the effects of the drugs taken to control diabetes.
3. Has anti-carcinogenic properties: An anti-cancer compound called sesamin is present in good quantity in gingelly oil making it a very good oil to take to prevent cancer. It stops the growth of cancer cells and is particularly effective against cancers affecting the colon, prostrate and the ovaries. Magnesium, present in gingelly oil, has been known to be very effective in decreasing the risk of colorectal cancers.
4. Protects against cell damage from radiation: The antioxidant sesamol is known to protect cells from the effect of radiation. Further studies are on, and it has shown encouraging results where damage to the intestines and spleen due to treatment with radiation may be prevented.
5. Boosts bone health: Gingelly oil contains zinc which is known to promote good bone health and boost bone mineral density. Zinc deficiency leads to osteoporosis or brittle bones in the hip and spine. Gingelly oil contains a good amount of calcium, a mineral which is essential for bone health.
6. Provides relief in rheumatoid arthritis: Copper, present in gingelly oil, helps in the functioning of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant enzyme systems which greatly reduces the pain and discomfort of arthritis. Copper also strengthens the blood vessels, joints and bones.
7. Improves intestinal health: Anti-inflammatory properties of gingelly oil helps to control conditions of the alimentary canal such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease. Benefits of gingelly oil in external applications
8. Boosts hair health: Gingelly oil has multiple benefits when used as a hair oil. It prevents the premature greying of hair. Since it also has hair darkening properties, it will even darken the hair when used regularly. It prevents damage due to exposure to the sun and pollution. It is used to treat dandruff and dry scalp. It is very good as a deep conditioner for hair and revitalises hair that is damaged due to stress. Gingelly oil prevents hair loss as well. To get the best results in hair care from gingelly oil, use it mixed with almond oil. An equal amount of both gingelly and almond oil mixed together and applied to the hair and a hot towel treatment afterwards will keep the hair thick and shining with health. This may be done thrice a week for best results.
9. Excellent for skincare: Gingelly oil is extremely good as a skincare solution for various skin problems as well as for maintaining healthy skin. It penetrates the lower layers of the skin very easily and provides deep moisturising to the skin. It reduces wrinkles and fine lines due to age or exposure and prevents sunburn and damage to skin due to UV rays. As a massage oil, its benefits are notable. Gingelly oil attracts and dissolves oil soluble toxins better than other oils. So, when it is applied to the skin the toxins on our skin, present due to pollution and exposure to sun and dust etc. and internal toxins released through the skin readily dissolve in the oil and can be washed off. It also improves blood circulation making the skin perform its functions better.
10. Improves oral health: Traditionally, gingelly oil has long been used for oil pulling. Oil pulling is the act of swishing a mouthful of oil inside the mouth for a few minutes before spitting it out and rinsing. Oil pulling is generally done before brushing in the morning. It helps in reducing plaque in teeth and getting rid of bacteria and fungi in the oral cavity. Oil pulling with gingelly oil improves teeth and gum health. The benefits of gingelly oil are innumerable and proven over time. In fact, gingelly oil has always formed the base of most of the oil based Ayurvedic medicines. It surely makes a very good case for switching at least partially to gingelly oil for most of our daily uses.
Caution: People who suffer from food allergies, and especially, those who are allergic to nuts of any kind should avoid the consumption of sesame seeds or gingelly oil as it can trigger the allergic reactions
- Tags: Health
- Grow Team