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Sesame and rice bran oil linked to lower blood pressure and improved cholesterol

By Kacey Culliney , 20-Sep-2012
Last updated on 20-Sep-2012 at 14:11 GMT

Sesame and rice bran oil linked to improved cholesterol and lowered blood pressure
Sesame and rice bran oil linked to improved cholesterol and lowered blood pressure

Sesame and rice bran oil consumption may lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol, according to new findings.

A team of scientists presented findings at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions that showed a drop in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (14  and 11 points respectively) and a fall in LDL cholesterol levels (26%) after consumption of sesame and rice bran oil blends.

Researchers suggested that the healthier fatty acids and antioxidants, such as sesamin, sesamol, sesamolin and oryzanol, found in the oils may be responsible for the results.

In a 60-day study conducted in New Delhi, India, 300 men and women aged 57 on average with mild to moderately high blood pressure were divided into three groups. One group was treated with nifedipine; a calcium-channel blocker, the second group consumed around one ounce of a sesame/rice bran oil blend each day in their meals and the third received both.

The oil blend was comprised of 80% physically refined high oryzanol rice bran oil and 20% unrefined sesame oil.

NutraIngredients has not seen the full data.

Cholesterol appeal

“Rice bran oil, like sesame oil, is low in saturated fat and appears to improve a patient’s cholesterol profile,” Dr Devarajan Sankar, lead researcher said.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels dropped 26% in the group consuming the oil blends and a 9.5% increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol was also observed.

No cholesterol changes were recorded for the group taking just the calcium-channel blocker and a 27% LDL level dip and 10.9% HDL rise was recorded for the mixed consumption group.

Blood pressure dips

Findings also showed a 14 point drop in systolic blood pressure from those using the oil blend, compared to a 16 point drop for those taking medication. The third group taking both recorded a 36-point drop.

Drops were also recorded for diastolic blood pressure, with an 11 point dip for those consuming the oil, 12 for those on medication and 24 for those using both.

On the horizon

Cooking with a combination of sesame and rice bran oil worked nearly as well as the commonly prescribed high blood pressure medication, researchers concluded. However, a combination of oil blends and medication yielded even more promising results, they added.

“Additionally, it [oil blends] may reduce heart disease risk in other ways, including being a substitute for less healthy oils and fats in the diet,” Sankar said.

Sankar referenced earlier studies that have linked these mono and poly unsaturated plant compounds with lower blood pressure and total cholesterol but said that further studies will be needed to ascertain if the oil blend is as beneficial as it seems.

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