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Combination of Sesame and Rice Bran Oils Packs Heart Health Benefits

High blood pressure and high cholesterol can lead to serious heart problems. Some people choose to take prescription drugs to lower both, but recent research suggests that including sesame and rice bran oil in your diet may work as well as a common prescription.

Three hundred participants with an average age of 57 with mild to moderately high blood pressure participated in this 60 day study. They received one of three daily interventions:

1. nifedipine (calcium-channel blocker)

2. one ounce of a sesame/rice bran oil blend

3. nifedipine and the oil blend

At the end of the two month period, there were significant changes in blood pressure levels. For diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number), the calcium blocker group showed a 12 point drop, the oil group showed an 11 point drop, and the group taking both showed a 24 point drop. For systolic blood pressure (the top number), the calcium blocker group showed a 16 point drop, the oil group showed a 14 point drop, and the group taking both showed a 36 point drop.

Researchers also noted a 26% drop in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and a 9.5% increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol in the oil group. The group taking both the calcium blocker and the oils had a 27% drop in LDL cholesterol and a 10.9% increase in HDL cholesterol. The calcium blocker group showed no changes.

The researchers believe these heart health benefits are due to the antioxidants and healthier fatty acids found in the oils.

The study was conducted at Adani Wilmar Limited in India. It was presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions in September, 2012.

Previous studies have linked sesame oil with lower blood sugar and healthier looking skin. Bran oil has been associated with easing hot flashes in menopausal women and is also found in some skin creams.

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