The 1 Side Effect Of Sesame Seeds You Must Know About Today

You may think twice the next time you reach for an extra spoon of this nutritious seed.

Medically reviewed by Sarah Spann, Adv Dip (Nut Med), mATMS Sarah Spann Sarah SpannAdv Dip (Nut Med), mATMS facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health linkedin_icon Experience: 8 years
Edited by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition Aparna Mallampalli BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years

Sesame seeds offer an array of health benefits. They are a part of many different cuisines. But one must also be aware of the side effects of sesame seeds associated with overconsumption. They may also trigger allergies in a few. In fact, there is a rise in sesame seed allergies in the United States. Continue reading to know more about the potential negative effects of sesame seeds.

Erin, a blogger, shared her personal account of her toddler son being allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, corn, and sesame seeds. She said, “But of all the foods my son has been allergic to, it’s sesame seeds that have caused the most problems (i).”

A survey conducted on 40,453 adults and 38 408 children found that approximately 0.49% of the US population reported a sesame allergy and 0.23% met the symptom-report criteria for it. Also, 23.6% to 37.2% among these individuals had previously experienced a severe allergic reaction to sesames.

protip_icon Know The Flip Side: Sesame Seeds

Short-Term Effects
Anaphylaxis that involves hives, breathing problems, coughing, vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain.

Long-Term Effects
May cause low blood glucose levels, low blood pressure, complications during pregnancy and appendix pain.

Drug Interactions

When To See A Doctor
In case of severe sesame allergy symptoms such as breathing difficulties, vomiting and hives.

What Is The Side Effect Of Sesame Seeds?

There is one side effect of sesame seeds – anaphylaxis, which can manifest in various forms.


Sesame seeds can cause anaphylaxis
Image: Shutterstock

Anaphylaxis is a reaction that occurs when the immune system releases high levels of certain powerful chemicals. These chemicals induce what is called an anaphylactic shock in medical terms. This shock can drastically lower your blood pressure and even constrict your airways, obstructing the breathing process.

According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, anaphylaxis can be a serious condition, and individuals need prompt medical intervention (1).

protip_icon Did You Know?
Charles Richet and Paul Portier coined the term anaphylaxis during an experiment to use actinia extracts to immunize dogs. Richet was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1913 for this discovery.

Though this is the primary (and most often, the only) side effect of anaphylaxis, it can show up in various ways.

What Are The Symptoms Of Anaphylaxis?

Close up of a woman experiencing difficulty in breathing as one of the symptoms of anaphylaxis
Image: Shutterstock

Sesame allergy (or anaphylaxis) can manifest in a number of symptoms. These include:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Coughing
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea (2)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Itchy mouth
  • Flushing in the face, skin irritation or inflammation
  • May cause a headache or lead to dizziness

Knowing the symptoms is one thing. And knowing how to prevent them is another.

Back To TOC

How To Prevent Sesame Allergy

Woman saying no to buns with sesame seeds to prevent sesame allergy
Image: Shutterstock

Avoiding sesame is one great way to prevent the allergy. This means that you need to avoid all foods made with sesame or sesame seed oil. These include the following:

  • Baked foods like cookies, buns, bagels, and buns. Certain bread products also contain sesame.
  • Snacks like granola bars, candy, and pretzels.
  • Middle Eastern foods like halvah, tahini, and hummus.

protip_icon Trivia
Sesame seeds are believed to have originated in Asia and have been used by the Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Egyptians for at least 5000 years.

Check the food labels. Also, since sesame can even be a hidden food allergen, avoid foods with unclear product labels or no ingredients list.

Any Other Precautions?

Pregnant woman saying no to donuts as a precaution to prevent sesame allergy
Image: Shutterstock

Yes, people with gout and Wilson’s disease (a condition that leads to the accumulation of copper) should avoid sesame seeds.

Sesame seeds contain oxalates, which might aggravate gout symptoms. The seeds are also rich in copper, which is why anyone suffering from Wilson’s disease must abstain from consuming the seeds.

Some research suggests that sesame seeds can lower blood sugar levels. This may not be good news for people on blood sugar medication as the seeds might lower blood sugar way too much. Stay in touch with your doctor if you are taking blood sugar medication.

Even pregnant and breastfeeding women must stay away from the seeds as there is not enough information if they are safe during this period.

Infographic: Side Effects Of Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for those who are not allergic to them. To others, they may cause a great deal of pain and a trip to the hospital. Check out the infographic below to understand the symptoms of sesame seed allergy and how to possibly avoid it.

side effect of sesame seeds (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

protip_icon Fun Fact
The phrase “open sesame” from the famous story “Ali Baba And The Forty Thieves” was inspired by sesame seeds as they were once believed to have magical powers.

Sesame seeds have been used in folk medicine for their medicinal properties. Their nutrient and fiber content offers several health benefits. However, overconsumption of sesame seeds may lead to allergies. The one major side effect of sesame seeds is anaphylaxis. It can block your airways, lower blood pressure levels, and obstruct the breathing process. People with sesame allergies may also experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, hives, itchy mouth, and coughing. Hence, limit their consumption and consult your doctor in case of emergencies.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if we eat sesame seeds daily?

It is good to eat sesame seeds daily. Sesame seeds are rich in manganese and calcium, which help strengthen the bones. Calcium also plays a major role in muscle movement and hormone release. However, excess consumption of sesame seeds should be avoided.

Do sesame seeds cause gastric discomfort?

Yes, sesame seeds can cause digestive issues, such as gas, bloating and constipation if consumed in excess. They are rich in fiber, which may trigger gastrointestinal discomfort (3).

Is sesame seeds good for sperm?

Yes, sesame seeds are good for improving sperm motility and count. They also help manage infertility.

What is the best way to eat sesame seeds?

Sesame seeds can be eaten raw, toasted, or baked. They have a naturally nutty flavor when baked or toasted.

Do sesame seeds heat the body?

Yes, sesame seeds have the ability to heat up the body, as per Ayurveda.

Do sesame seeds increase weight?

No, sesame seeds do not increase weight. In fact, they help in weight loss by promoting satiety and curbing hunger.

Key Takeaways

  • The most prominent side effect of sesame seed is anaphylaxis which surfaces as various allergy symptoms like breathing difficulty, hives, and even vomiting.
  • Foods like buns, bagels, snack bars, halvah, tahini, and hummus contain sesame seeds.
  • People suffering from gout and Wilson’s disease should avoid sesame seeds as they are rich in copper.
  • Sesame seeds might lower blood sugar levels, thus making the ingredient unsafe for people on blood sugar medication.
side effects of sesame seeds

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

Uncover the hidden dangers of sesame consumption and its potentially harmful effects on your health. Dive into this insightful video to make informed decisions for a healthier lifestyle.

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. “Anaphylaxis” American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.
  2. Sesame Allergy: Role of Specific IgE and Skin Prick Testing in Predicting Food Challenge Results
  3. Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.): A Comprehensive Review of Nutritional Value Phytochemical Composition Health Benefits Development of Food and Industrial Applications
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Sarah Spann

Sarah SpannAdv Dip (Nut Med), mATMS

Sarah Spann has 4 years of experience as a clinical nutritionist. She specializes in gut health and is based in Brisbane, Australia. She is dedicated to changing the paradigm of gut health and works with clients all over the world to help them get back the freedom, energy and confidence that their gut issues have taken away. Sarah is full bio

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