You may know that most oils are dangerous to cook with. Many are heavy in trans fats. And others oxidize and degrade too quickly to be healthy. But there are two oils that can stand the heat and remain somewhat healthy.

Two new studies found that sesame oil and olive oil are the best oils to cook with, especially if you have high blood pressure or diabetes.
The researchers in the first study followed 40 hypertensive and diabetic patients and their cooking oil usage. They replaced their regular cooking oil with sesame oil and took into account a number of different risk factors.

After 45 days of sesame oil use, the researchers found the oil reduced both systolic and diastolic BP significantly. Additionally, body weight, body mass index, waist girth, plasma glucose, Hgb A1c, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and plasma sodium levels were all lower as well. That's a lot of risk factors.

They also found that potassium-levels increased (a good change) and plasma antioxidant levels increased.

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After going off sesame oil, their blood pressures increased!

In the olive oil study, researchers gave men who did not follow a Mediterranean diet supplemental olive oil (25 ml per day). They had a modest decrease of 3% in their blood pressure.

I love sesame oil. I add toasted organic sesame oil to my homemade salad dressing for aroma and flavor. Sesame oil has the distinction of being relatively heat resistant. The benefit of these two oils is likely the polyphenols found in them.

However, keep cooking with oil to a minimum. Even these fine oils will eventually oxidize and degrade. Try to keep your heat as low as possible while cooking.

British Journal of Cancer May 22, 2006;94(10):1361-8; Yahoo News May 25, 2006.
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