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 that 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.
Flaxseed The flax plant contains canabidiol and other similar compounds, and when you consume flaxseed you’re getting some of the same goodness you would find in an extract. Because flaxseed is so versatile and found in so many healthy foods, for many people it is the easiest way to add a bit of terpene into their daily diet.
Flaxseed is great in a fruit smoothie and is also a great addition to granola and other quick snacks you can throw together with nuts, grains, and fruits. If you're a vegetarian, or can at least appreciate the delicacy of a homemade veggie pattie now and then, try adding flaxseed into the mix for a little terpene-induced perk.
In Your Spice Rack
Several popular spices If you’re looking to add a quick dash of spice to a recipe you already love, the following everyday spices contain Beta-Caryophyllene:
- Black Pepper
Anything built from cacao Cacao is the ultimate superfood. Need proof? Look no further than its high terpene content. Anandamide is found in cacao, the same element that causes the famed “runner’s high” you may notice after going for a long jog.
This is why you feel so good after eating part of a dark chocolate bar -- the anandamide is a natural antidepressant. In fact, it is already produced by your body, and the addition of cacao into your system amplifies the effect. It’s an antioxidant as well, so while you’re adding goodness to your system you’re also pushing out cleaning out the bad stuff.
For a dose of cacao awesomeness in an everyday meal, try adding cacao powder to your breakfast or lunch. It goes well in common items like fruit and nut clusters, trail mix, and anything else that’s crunchy. Blend it in your morning smoothie or stir some into a cup of coffee for an extra AM punch. You can also buy organic cacao butter in some specialty food stores, and if they’re really on top of it, you might find cereals and snack bars containing this superfood as well.
Hops Before you even ask, the answer yes -- this means that beer contains terpenes. Mother nature went and decided that hops would be used to create the perfect after-work beverage, and ss 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 naturally 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 natural 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.
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.