In this article we are going to answer can you eat juniper berries, what are juniper berries, are juniper berries healthy to eat, what are the side effects of eating juniper berries and how can you add juniper berries to your diet.
Can you eat juniper berries?
Yes, juniper berries can be eaten but they are usually used to flavor food and not to eat them in large amounts.
Juniper berries should not be eaten in large amounts because they contain an oil that is a powerful diuretic and there have been reports that eating too many juniper berries causes abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
What are juniper berries?
Juniper berries are not real berries. They are the female seed that is produced by various species of junipers. They are usually used as a spice and not as real berries or fruit. According to the FAO, juniper berries are the only spice that is made from a conifer.
All junipers grow berries but not all are edible to eat or to use as a spice. Some other edible species include
- Juniperus drupaceous
- Juniperus oxycedrus
- Juniperus phoenicea
- Juniperus deppeana
- Juniperus californica
Juniperus communis berries or juniper berries are green when young and when mature they become purple-black. When they become purple-black is when they are used in the kitchen.
Juniper berries are usually used to spice meat dishes, poultry, pork, cabbage, and sauerkraut dishes.
Are juniper berries healthy to eat?
Juniper berries do not have a nutritional content because they are not fruit. They are high in Vitamin C, antioxidants, monoterpenes, and coumarins. All their components have various health benefits and will help you to have overall better health.
- High in nutrients and antioxidants
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Antidiabetic properties
- Promote heart health
- Antibacterial and antifungal activity
High in nutrients and antioxidants
Juniper berries contain a high amount of vitamin C. 28 grams of juniper berries can give about 10% of the daily value of vitamin C. They are also packed with antioxidants and chemical compounds that help you to have better health overall.
Because they are high in antioxidants, they protect against cell damage and diminish inflammation. Also, an essential oil found in juniper berries reduces inflammation.
There has been a link between juniper berries and diabetes. Juniper berries decrease the risk of diabetes and they have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to reduce blood sugar.
Promote heart health
Juniper berries decrease cholesterol and triglycerides, by decreasing levels of these two the risk of heart health and stroke decreases a lot.
Antibacterial and antifungal activity
Some studies have proven that juniper berries have antibacterial and antifungal properties. These properties are attributed to several compounds found in juniper berries such as oil, sabine, limonene, and myrcene.
What are the side effects of eating juniper berries?
Juniper berries should not be eaten in high amounts because they are toxic. Juniper supplements and extracts can reach toxic levels easily. There is no safe amount on how much juniper berries supplements you can take without side effects.
Research has only confirmed that juniper supplements and juniper berries in high amounts interact with diuretics and psychiatric drugs. They contain oil that acts as a potent diuretic.
Also, there is not enough evidence that juniper supplements might cause kidney damage.
How can you add juniper berries to your diet?
Juniper berries can be bought fresh and dried. In both cases, you just need to store them in an open container or closed container. You can store it in a cool, dark place and avoid high temperatures. You don’t need to refrigerate them, they can last up to a year in your drawer.
They are traditionally used to spice some dishes such as
- Wild pork
- Red cabbage
- German sauerkraut
You can also find juniper berries as juniper beer, and juniper supplements and they are famous because they are usually used in ginger drinks.
Follow this link for 16 recipes that make the most of juniper berries.
Other FAQs about Spices that you may be interested in.
This article answered can you eat juniper berries, what are juniper berries, are juniper berries healthy to eat, what are the side effects of eating juniper berries and how can you add juniper berries to your diet.