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8 Foods You Never Knew Contained Terpenes

Reading Time - 5 min

Terpenes aren’t just something you buy as an extract or enjoy infused into your favorite products. These naturally occurring compounds are present in plants and insects all over the world, including a number of foods we eat on a regular basis. 

At least one variety of terpene is found in each of the following foods, spices, and -- as an added bonus -- even one of our favorite beverages. So, get ready to add these items to your grocery list, because you’re going to want to stock up. 

1. Mangoes are Rich in Myrcene

It didn’t feel right not to start with Mangoes. For years, cannabis users have been claiming that eating mangoes while ingesting cannabis increases their high. Turns out, they weren’t wrong!

It’s thought that the high content of Myrcene in Mangoes is what gives them this ability. Merry Jane says, “After you eat a mango, the fruit’s terpenes enter your bloodstream. When you smoke marijuana, the THC consumed interacts with these terpenes in such a way that it increases the level of your high.”

One study indicates that the reason for this may be because of myrcenes ability to affect the blood brain barrier making it easier for cannabinoids to reach the brain. 

However, if you’re not interested in cannabis then fear not! You can still just eat a mango and benefit from the anxiolytic, sedative, and anti-inflammatory properties of myrcene.

terpenes in Mango | Myrcene terpene

2. Apples are High in Terpinolene and Alpha-Farnesene

One of the coolest things about apples is the huge variety of them! You can have apples that are sour, like Granny Smith Apples, or ones that are sweeter, like Honeycrisps. But with all those different flavors and sensations come different terpene profiles.

Plus, because of the way we’ve cultivated apples, newer varieties don’t have as many terpenes as their heirloom counterparts. CannaCon says, “The Royal Gala had 5-15 times less terpene content than heritage varieties such as King David, Belle Bonne or Adam’s Permain. Additionally the Royal Gala had a much less diverse profile, with a narrow variety of terpenes.”

 

The majority of apple terpene profiles, however, do include Terpinolene and Alpha-Farnesene. Some varieties also include Limonene, but not all. 

3. Citrus Fruits Have Lots of Limonene

Speaking of Limonene, almost all citrus fruits have large amounts of Limonene in them--the name should have been a big hint! Think lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, and more.

Citrus Terpenes

Outside of the many health benefits we receive just from the Vitamin C in citrus fruits, limonene has its own long list of possible health benefits. 

Limonene has been shown to help reduce heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux,  may help dissolve gallstones, may help reduce skin inflammation, and may be a powerful anxiolytic. 

4. Lots of Spices Contain Beta-Caryophyllene

Since terpenes are all about scent and flavor, it makes sense that a lot of herbs and spices are abundant in terpenes. Specifically, you should be looking at your spice cabinet!

So many spices have beta-caryophyllene, which is perfect for anyone looking to add anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and mood elevating properties to their foods.

If you’re looking to add a quick dash of spice to a recipe you already love, the following everyday spices contain Beta-Caryophyllene:

  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Cinnamon
  • Oregano
  • Lavender
  • Cloves
  • Black Pepper

foods containing terpenes

5. Broccoli Has High Levels of Beta-Caryophyllene

    If you’re one of those people who pushes broccoli around your plate without actually eating it...knock it off! Broccoli is full of Vitamin K and C, folic acid, potassium, fiber, and, it turns out, beta-caryophyllene.

    Just like the previous list of spices, broccoli is a great addition to your terpene-heavy food list. Plus, if you’re looking for a heavy dose of beta-caryophyllene consider creating some sort of broccoli casserole seasoned with rosemary, oregano, and black pepper. 

    It’s a beta-caryophyllene match made in...terpene heaven. Yup, that’s a thing now. 

    6. Head to Your Nearest Brewery for a Heavy Hit of Terpenes

    Terpenes in Beer

    Before you even ask, the answer is yes -- this means that beer contains terpenes. Specifically, it’s the hops in your beer that has all those delicious terpenes.

    Mother nature went and decided that hops would be used to create the perfect after-work beverage, and as if beer needed to get any more awesome, you can snag the benefits of terpenes from certain types of brew.

    Because the hops plant produces an essential oil, it produces terpenes as well. The general formula would lean to a hoppier beer containing a higher amount of terpenes, and this tends to work out -- but there is a catch.

    In particular, three specific terpenes are most commonly found in the essential oil of hops -- myrcene, alpha-caryophyllene, and caryophyllene. Because of the water insolubility of these terpenes, you won’t find them in high quantities within bottled or canned beer. The exception to this is if terpenes are added during a dry hopping process, as is the case with a number of hoppy IPAs on the market.

    Another example of a beer containing a high quantity of terpenes is the SuperCritical ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company in California, which is specifically brewed to have a high-terpene content.   

    Final Thoughts

    Everyday, whether we’re aware of it or not, we use food and beverage to define and highlight portions of our daily routine. 

    That vibrant breakfast smoothie is geared towards amping us up for the adventures ahead. The reprieve of a lunch hour  breaks up the day, sustains our momentum, and keeps us going strong. The heady aroma of herbs and spices that permeate a home cooked meal brings us back to our roots. The pleasure of an indulgent dessert or an ice cold beer in the evening lifts our spirits...

    Looking back on the day with a critical eye, it’s easy to see how so many of our memorable moments happen within the context of the food and drink we take into our body. Whether it’s a quiet breakfast alone, a power lunch at the top of a skyscraper, or dinner and drinks with colleagues - terpenes are there, in abundance, quietly coloring our experiences and lending a helping, healthful hand.   

    If you’re a chef looking to craft some new innovative terpene infused cuisine, then check out our products to see if there’s something worth salivating over! And if you’ve already created some kind of Terpene Treat then give us a shoutout on Instagram for a chance to be featured on one of our stories!

    Anyone else hungry?

    Summary

    • Since terpenes are naturally found in many plants, it makes sense that there are terpenes in some of our food.
    • Mangoes, Apples, Citrus Fruits, several Spices, Broccoli, and Beer all contain terpenes.

     

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