(NaturalNews) A new study has found that a special blend of sesame and rice bran oils have the potential to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol naturally, providing healthcare professionals and patients alike with a natural, non-medicinal option for treating conditions that could become life-threatening.
Recent reports said the study involved 300 people in New Delhi, India, who had high blood pressure, known as hypertension. During trials, one-third of the study's participants were given a common drug called nifedipine, another third took an ounce of a specially made blend of sesame and rice brand oils to use in cooking every day, and the last third took the drug and cooked with the blended oils. All three control groups were treated for 60 days.
In the end, researchers found that all three groups, including the one not taking the medication, had decreased their blood pressure levels.
Those who took the drug and used the oil blend had a greater decrease in their blood pressure levels, with the systolic (top number) pressure falling an average of 16 points among those who just took the drug, while decreasing an average of 14 points for those who just cooked with the oil.
For those who used both, the average decrease was 36 points.
At the same time, the diastolic (bottom number) pressure - which is often considered to be the more dangerous of the two because that number represents your heart at rest - fell by an average of 12 points among those who just took nifedipine, and 11 points, on average, for those who just cooked with the oils. For those who used both, the average decline was 24 points.
In addition, the oil blend appeared to make a positive difference in cholesterol levels.
Researchers discovered that participants who cooked with the blend of oils had, on average, 26 percent lower "bad" cholesterol levels, while "good" levels rose about 9.5 percent by the end of the two-month study period.
Meanwhile, those who cooked with the blend and took the blood pressure medication as well had an average of 27 percent lower levels of bad cholesterol and 10.9 percent higher levels of good cholesterol.
People who did not cook with the oils; however, experienced no cholesterol benefit.
"Rice bran oil, like sesame oil, is low in saturated fat and appears to improve a patient's cholesterol profile," study researcher Dr. Devarajan Sankar, M.D, Ph.D., a research scientist at Fukuoka University Chikushi Hospital in Japan, said in a statement. "Additionally, it may reduce heart disease risk in other ways, including being a substitute for less healthy oils and fats in the diet."
Healthier fatty acids and antioxidants, such as sesamin, sesamol, sesamolin and oryzanol, in the oil blends may be responsible for the results, Sankar said.
Results preliminary, but the future looks bright
"These antioxidants, mono and poly unsaturated oils are compounds found in plants and have been linked with lower blood pressure and total cholesterol in earlier studies," said an American Heart Association statement. "Additional studies are needed to determine if the oil blend is as beneficial as it seems."
Sankar noted this particular blend of oils was tailor-made for those participating in the study, and that people should not think that making their own rice-bran and sesame-oil blend will produce similar effects. Nevertheless, the findings are important, researchers say, because they have the potential to influence future, non-drug options for treatment of hypertension and high cholesterol levels, both factors that increase risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.
The results of the study were presented at the American Heart Association's "High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions," and, so far, has yet to be published in any peer-reviewed journal. For that reason, researchers noted that their results should be considered preliminary.
The oils were donated by Adani Wilmar Limited in India, but no outside funding for the study was received by the research team.