Sesame Seed Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/03/22 •  9 min read
sesame seed benefits and side effects


Sesame seed health benefits may include:

Sesame seeds are…

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Water footprint: high, it takes 9,371 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of sesame seeds / 1,123 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of sesame seeds

Carbon footprint: high, 4.2 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of sesame seeds, a car driving equivalent of 9.75 miles or 15.75 kilometers

Destruction: low, sesame seed production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Sesame seeds are…


Killed: none, sesame seed production does not require any animals to be killed

Harmed: none, sesame seed production does not require any animals to be used

Animals indirectly killed or harmed: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from sesame seed production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Sesame seeds are…


Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Sesame seeds…

Where do most sesame seeds come from?

In the United States, nearly all commercial sesame production is in Texas and Oklahoma, but is spreading to Kansas and Arkansas. 

The world’s top sesame seed producing country is Sudan, followed by Myanmar and India.

The world’s top sesame seed exporting country is Nigeria, followed by India, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Guatemala, Uganda, Paraguay, Mozambique and Germany.

Are sesame seeds nutritious?

Sesame seeds are high in protein, iron and fiber, contain healthy fats like polyunsaturated fatty acids and Omega-6 and contain calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

sesame seeds are alkaline.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Are sesame seeds alkaline or acidic?

Sesame seeds are alkaline once digested.

What is the pH level of sesame seeds?

Sesame seeds have an 8.0 pH level once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

sesame seeds are gluten free.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Are sesame seeds gluten free? Yes, sesame seeds are gluten free. Sesame seeds do not contain gluten. Sesame seeds are a type of seed, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

sesame seeds are not a common food allergen.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Are sesame seeds a common food allergen?

No, sesame seeds are not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to sesame seeds but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

sesame seeds have a high water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Do sesame seeds have a high or low water footprint?

Sesame seeds have a relatively high water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of sesame seeds?

It takes 9,371 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of sesame seeds / 1,123 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of sesame seeds.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

sesame seeds have a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Do sesame seeds have a high or low carbon footprint?

Sesame seeds have a relatively high carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of sesame seeds?

It takes around 4.2 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of sesame seeds, a car driving equivalent of 9.75 miles or 15.75 kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

sesame seeds are moderately sustainable.

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Overall, are sesame seeds eco friendly? Are sesame seeds sustainable?

Sesame seed production is moderately sustainable.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

sesame seeds are vegan.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

According to Sentient Media, “more than 200 million land animals are killed for food around the world every day. Including wild-caught and farmed fishes, we get a total closer to 3 billion animals killed daily.”

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives. 

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

sesame seeds are a product that may or may not have labor issues.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks.

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 


Sesame seed pros include:

Sesame seed cons include:


Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, dried – FoodData Central

Value addition in sesame: A perspective on bioactive components for enhancing utility and profitability

Effects of the Intake of Sesame Seeds (Sesamum indicum L.)

Sesame – DOD – Directorate of Oilseed Development

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.