Cook Your Way to Lower Blood Pressure

Rice bran and sesame oils linked to lower blood pressure

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) It's not just how you cook your food, but also what you choose to grease the pan that may affect your blood pressure. Certain cooking oils appear to provide a significant blood pressure improvement.

Cooking with a combination of rice bran and sesame oils may lower blood pressure nearly as much as common hypertension medications. The oil duo also provided a cholesterol benefit, a recent study found.

Participants were found to have an even more significant blood pressure improvement when they cooked with the oils and also took blood pressure medication.

"Discuss blood pressure-lowering treatments with your doctor first."

Devarajan Sankar, MD, PhD, a research scientist in the Department of Cardiovascular Disease at Fukuoka University Chikushi Hospital in Japan, noted that the oils are low in saturated fat and also benefited patients' cholesterol levels.

Dr. Sankar said cooking with the oils also may reduce the risk of heart disease in other ways, including acting as a healthy substitute for more fatty oils and fats.

During the 60-day study which took place in India, 300 participants with mild to moderately high blood pressure were divided into three groups.

One group took hypertension drug nifedipine (Adalat, Nifediac, Cordipin, Nifedical, and Procardia), while the second group was asked to use an ounce a day of a blend of rice bran and sesame oils in meals. The third group took the medication and also cooked with the oil blend.

The average age of patients was 57, and an equal number of men and women participated.

Among participants using only the oil blend, systolic blood pressure, or the top number in a blood pressure reading, was reduced by 14 points. Those taking only medication averaged a 16-point drop. Individuals who used both reduced their systolic blood pressure by an average of 36 points.

Diastolic blood pressure also was reduced among all groups, dropping 11 points among the oil group, 12 points for those taking the drug and 24 points for those using both.

Participants cooking with the oils also experienced a 26 percent decrease in "bad" LDL cholesterol and a 10 percent boost in "good" HDL cholesterol. The group that used both had a 27 percent drop in LDL cholesterol and an 11 percent increase in HDL. Patients taking only the medication did not receive a cholesterol benefit.

Researchers said the benefits were likely the result of healthier fatty acids and antioxidants in the oil blend. Some of the antioxidants in the oils are plant compounds previously associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Additional studies are needed to confirm the findings.

The oil blend was specially mixed for the study and investigators have cautioned individuals using similar oils at home may not reap the same benefits.

The cooking oil was donated and outside funds were not provided for the study.

The research, which has not yet been published, was recently presented at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions.

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Review Date: 
September 18, 2012
Last Updated:
September 20, 2012