Are you allergic to nuts? Nut allergies are surprisingly common, and they can be life-threatening in some cases. People who are allergic to nuts know to avoid tree nuts such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, chestnuts, Brazil nuts, pinenuts and macadamia nuts – but what about sesame seeds? Sesame seeds commonly hide in rolls, cookies and other baked goods – and they can be difficult to avoid. If you’re allergic to nuts, is it safe to eat sesame seeds?
If You’re Allergic to Nuts, Are You Allergic to Sesame Seeds?
Even though sesame seeds aren’t tree nuts, it’s wise to stay away from them if you’re allergic to nuts. Why? Tree nuts and sesame seeds have proteins in common, meaning if your immune system reacts against them in tree nuts, you’ll have the same reaction when you eat sesame seeds. Most doctors recommend that people allergic to nuts avoid sesame seeds due to this potential for cross-reactivity.
Sesame Allergy is on the Rise
Allergy to sesame seeds have increased at an alarming rate over the last twenty years and now rank in the top ten in terms of food allergies. Experts believe the reason is the widespread use of sesame seeds in baked goods, ethnic foods – and even cosmetics. Seven out of ten people who have a sesame allergy are also allergic to nuts that come from trees. People who have an allergy to sesame seeds can have a severe and even life-threatening reaction if they unknowingly eat sesame seeds or sesame oil.
It’s Hard to Avoid Sesame Seeds
It can be a challenge to avoid sesame seeds. They’re hiding in baked goods, energy bars, muesli, chutneys and many processed vegetarian foods. Sauces and dips often have added sesame oil, which needs to be avoided if you have a sesame allergy. Sesame derivatives are also found in cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. Buying processed and packaged foods is risky since foods that contain only small amounts of sesame don’t have to list it on their label.
Nut Allergies and Allergy to Sesame Seeds: The Bottom Line?
If you’re allergic to nuts, there’s a good chance you’ll have a reaction to sesame seeds or sesame oil too. To reduce the risk of being exposed to sesame, stay away from processed foods, and avoid eating out in restaurants unless you know their offerings are free of sesame seeds and tree nuts. It could help you avoid a serious allergic reaction.
Web Md. “Sesame Allergies on the Rise in U.S.
Auckland Allergy Clinic. “Allergy to Tree Nuts and Sesame”