5 Ways juniper berries promote weight loss
The juniper berry is a superfood packed with nutrients that help strengthen your immune system and lose weight too. Despite its name, juniper is neither a berry nor a fruit! It's a part of the Juniperus plant, which bears bluish or reddish berry-like cones.
Here is what makes juniper berries a super health food that also promotes weight loss:
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- They are diuretic. Juniper berries help flush out excess water that can otherwise come off as excess weight. It is often recommended to treat urinary tract infections. Its detoxifying effects help relieve gout, arthritis and other inflammatory diseases by hindering the production of inflammatory prostaglandins. Since it eliminates water weight, Juniper berries can cause temporary weight loss. This doesn't mean that you are losing fat. But if you have an event coming up in a few days, juniper berries can help get rid of that bloated look. Since juniper is aquaretic, it increases urine output without depleting the body of electrolytes.
- They are very rich in antioxidants. They are the compounds that keeps us looking young and disease-free. They neutralize the effects of free radicals that can damage our skin, cause wrinkles, inflammation and heart disease. Because it has lots of unsaturated fats and antioxidants, research shows that it can keep our brain and blood vessels disease-free. Some antioxidants in juniper berries are alpha-pinene, cadinene, limonene, myrcene, borneol, caryophyllene and germacrene.
- They have antibacterial and antifungal effects. Some of the harmful bacteria they protect you against include E.coli, S.aureus etc. The essential oil from juniper berries inhibits both animal based and plant based pathogens. It also has anti rheumatic effects.
- They promote digestive health. They help with bloating, indigestion, heartburn, and poor appetite. Juniper berry is an astringent because of its bitter taste. When it comes in contact with our saliva, it stimulates the production of different digestive enzymes and acids in our stomach.
- They keep our blood sugar in check. In fact, research has shown that Juniper berries can lower the blood glucose levels in diabetics, also preventing you from getting hit with hunger pangs. That said, you need to make sure your blood sugar doesn't drop too much.
Uses in the kitchen. Juniper berries are famously used as a spice to enhance the flavor of meat dishes. They are also found in gin, and the extract is incorporated into perfumes, soaps and even cosmetics. Because of their sedating effect, juniper berries help stave off insomnia.
Side effects. Do note that there are several side effects for this fruit some of which include kidney irritation and in more serious cases, seizures. When applied to skin, especially on open wounds, it can cause redness, swelling and burning. It is unsafe to consume juniper berries during pregnancy and nursing. Due to its effects on the uterus, juniper can cause miscarriage. When taken too long, they can also irritate our intestines, and destabilize our blood pressure.
Juniper berries are overflowing with nutrients, but just as with everything else, you should consume them in moderation. The upside is they will promote weight loss by nourishing your body with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
This post was originally published on October 23, 2014.
Image via iStock
Have you ever tried juniper berries?