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 SpannSarah Spann, Adv Dip (Nut Med), mATMS
By Ravi Teja TadimallaRavi Teja Tadimalla, Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health  • 

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 allergies in the United States. Continue reading to know more about the potential negative effects of sesame seeds.

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.

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).

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:

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

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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.
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 Effect Of Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for those who are not allergic to them. To others, it may cause a great deal of pain and a trip to the hospital if they are allergic. To understand the symptoms and how to avoid an allergic reaction, check out the infographic below to know more.

side effect of sesame seeds (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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Download Infographic in PDF version

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 gas?

Yes, sesame seeds may cause gas and bloating if consumed in excess. They are rich in fiber, which may trigger gastrointestinal discomfort. Hence, their excessive consumption should be avoided.

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.


1. “Anaphylaxis”. American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.

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