Cooking with sesame oil in place of other edible oils appears to help reduce high blood pressure and lower the amount of medication needed to control hypertension, researchers reported yesterday at an Inter-American Society of Hypertension meeting in the US.
Using sesame oil as the sole cooking oil for 60 days along with drug treatment lowered patients' blood pressure levels from 166 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) systolic pressure to 134 mm Hg, and from 101 mm Hg diastolic to 84.6 mm Hg.
The researchers also report that the dose of nifedipine, a calcium channel blocker, was reduced from 22.7mg per day to 7.45mg per day by the end of the study.
"The affect of the oil on blood pressure may be due to polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and the compound sesamin - a lignan present in sesame oil. Both compounds have been shown to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive rats. Sesame lignans also inhibit the synthesis and absorption of cholesterol in these rats," said lead author Devarajan Sankar, a research scholar at Annamalai University, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India.
Sesame oil contains 43 per cent polyunsaturated fatty acids and 40 milligrams of vitamin E per 100 grams, according to the researcher. The research team has previously found that sesame oil helps reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients taking diuretics or beta blockers, and that it helped people with diabetes regardless of high blood pressure.
In the new study, researchers identified 328 patients (195 men, 133 women, average age 58) who were taking 10-30mg daily of nifedipine, the calcium channel blocker drug. They had moderate to severe long-term hypertension but no history of heart disease or stroke. Their average blood pressure was 166/101mm Hg, which is considered stage 2 hypertension. Participants consumed an average of 35grams of oil per day for 60 days. Researchers measured blood pressure at baseline, every 15 days and on day 60.
"Overall, we've added to the growing body of knowledge that suggests regular consumption of sesame oil as the sole edible oil is beneficial in many ways, including blood pressure reduction," said Sankar.