Sesame seeds, scientifically named Sesamum indicum are known to be the oldest oilseed crops that have been domesticated over 3,500 years ago. They are known by different names such as benne, bene, gingelly, or til seeds. They are available in white, black, yellow and red depending on the strain of the sesame plant. You may get them either hulled (without seed coat) or unhulled (with seed coat).
MomJunction tells you if you can have sesame seeds during pregnancy and their effect on you and your baby.
Is It Safe To Eat Sesame Seeds During Pregnancy?
There is a common misconception that sesame seeds can cause miscarriage. Tara Gidus, nutrition advisor for American baby magazine in her book, ‘Pregnancy Cooking and Nutrition for Dummies,’ says that certain foods have heat that could harm the baby. She also mentions that there is no science to prove this claim, and there is no need to avoid sesame seeds. Therefore, it is better to take them in moderation during pregnancy.
Sesame Seeds Nutrition And Benefits
- Calcium: According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the recommended dietary allowance of calcium is 1,000 mg per day for pregnant women (1). Sesame seeds contain about 989mg of calcium per 100 grams (2).
- Iron: Iron requirements double during pregnancy, and deficiency might cause anemia (3). The reference dietary intake (RDI) is 27mg per day (4), and sesame seeds are likely to give around 14.8mg per 100 grams (1).
Apart from these, sesame is believed to have other health-promoting nutrients in reasonable amounts that you need during pregnancy.
|Nutrient||RDA (4) (5)||Per 100g of sesame seed (2)|
|Calories||1800 – 2400 calories||565kcal|
If you are interested in adding sesame seeds to your diet, we’ll tell you how you can do that.
Ways To Include Sesame Seeds In Pregnancy Diet
Some of the ways that you may choose to include sesame seeds in your everyday diet are:
- Make a quick sesame dip (tahini), and eat with fresh vegetables.
- Add some sesame seeds to the basic coriander or mint chutneys for extra taste and improved nutritional value.
- Make chutney and eat with main dishes like steamed rice or quinoa.
- Roasted sesame seeds can be used as a garnish in noodles, curries, and more.
- Prepare til ladoo or chikki or revdi (Indian sweets), which can be your power-packed dessert options.
Sesame seeds add not only nutrition but also taste to your food. But that doesn’t mean you can have them beyond a limit.
[Read: Flax Seeds During Pregnancy]
Side-effects Of Consuming Excessive Sesame Seeds During Pregnancy
There might be a few risks associated with sesame seeds:
- Do not eat them in excess during the first trimester when your pregnancy is still delicate. If you happen to see any spotting after eating sesame seeds, check with your doctor.
- Avoid them if you have a history of allergies to seeds since seeds, including sesame, are among the common food allergens known in the US (6).
It is still advisable to check with your doctor before consuming them. Remember, moderation is always the key.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are black sesame seeds healthier than white sesame seeds?
Both black and white sesame seeds have the same composition, and differences only lie in taste and smell. Black seeds retain their hull, while white seeds have their hull removed. There is no science saying one is healthier than the other.
2. Is it safe to consume sesame oil (gingelly oil) during pregnancy?
Sesame seeds could be a good option, much like olive oil or canola oil, that may help meet your requirement of healthy fats. These fats might absorb fat-soluble vitamins and minerals that may be important for you and your baby’s health.
[Read: Oats During Pregnancy]
Hope this post has helped you clear any doubts about eating sesame seeds during pregnancy. Keep in mind to consult your doctor if you have any misconceptions or further doubts regarding any food item. If you have anything to share on sesame seeds and pregnancy, please write it in the comments section.
2. Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, roasted and toasted (170151); Basic report; USDA
3. Eat Smart to Prevent Iron Deficiency; Family Health Service; The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (2019)
4. Michelle A. Kominiarek and Priya Rajan; Nutrition Recommendations in Pregnancy and Lactation; Med Clin North Am (2017)
5. Eating right during pregnancy; U.S. National Library of Medicine
6. Food Allergy; American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
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