WEDNESDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Reinforcing the role nutrition plays in heart health, new research suggests that cooking with a combination of sesame oil and rice bran oil can lower mild to moderately high blood pressure.
A small study conducted in New Delhi, India, found that hypertensive adults who added roughly 1.25 ounces of a rice bran/sesame oil mixture to their daily diet experienced a drop in blood pressure nearly equivalent to that experienced by those taking a standard calcium-channel blocker blood pressure medication alone.
And those who consumed both the oil mixture and their blood pressure medication saw a blood pressure drop more than twice that of those taking the drug alone.
The oil combination also seemed to lower so-called "bad" (LDL) cholesterol and raise "good" (HDL) cholesterol, the researchers reported. This cholesterol profile improvement was not found among those taking a medication alone.
"We had previously reported that sesame oil by itself has a strong impact on blood pressure," said study lead author Dr. Devarajan Sankar, a research scientist in the department of cardiovascular disease at Fukuoka University Chikushi Hospital in Chikushino, Japan. They found that sesame oil has a calcium-channel-blocking effect similar to that of calcium-channel-blocker drugs, he said.
"But now, we found that when sesame oil is combined with rice bran oil, the two together have a remarkable synergistic effect on high blood pressure," he said.
The researchers believe this effect is mainly due to antioxidants -- sesamin, sesamol and sesamolin in sesame oil, and oryzanol in rice bran oil. Both oils also contain unsaturated fatty acids -- "what we used to call 'good fats,'" Sankar said.
It's too soon, however, to recommend that anyone forgo their prescribed medication in favor of this cooking-oil combination. The study is preliminary and fa
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