Sesame seed is widely used in food and nutraceutical industries in many countries because of its high oil, protein and antioxidant contents. Sesame oil contains sesamin, sesamolin and sesaminol lignan fractions, which are known to play an important role in its oxidative stability and antioxidative activity. It is widely known as one of the natural health promoting foods that has the potential to prevent various disorders such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia cancer and aging. Additionally, sesame oil may be useful in managing oxidative stress-associated diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, obesity, chronic renal failure, rheumatoid arthritis, and neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease. Moreover, sesame oil has multiple physiological functions such as decreasing blood lipids and arachidonic acid levels, increasing antioxidative ability and γ-tocopherol bioavailability, and providing anti-inflammatory function and potential estrogenic activity. Many health promoting effects are attributed to its lignans. Hence, this article highlights and discusses the potential health promoting effects of sesame and its oil with emphasis on the contribution of lignans.
Keywords: Functional food, Health promotion, Lignans, Nutraceutical, Sesame