Juniper berries are exactly what they sound like: berries that come from the juniper plant. Like most berries, juniper is high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous. It is also fairly low in sugar, making it an excellent addition to a Paleo lifestyle.
Paleo and Autoimmune Protocol
Juniper berries are used mostly as a spice, but you might want to proceed with caution before making yourself a heaping juniper berry salad. This is because the spice is made mostly from the ground seeds of the plant. Seeds have anti-nutrients such as phytic acid (a.k.a. phytates) in place to protect the plant from ingestion. As a result, consuming them can sometimes cause digestive issues (including mineral deficiencies and gut permeability) in some people.
An Elimination Diet
Not all people are affected though. Some people can consume loads of juniper berries without experiencing any problems. The best way to determine if you’re sensitive is to eliminate them from your diet for a time before slowly reintroducing them to see how they affect you.
The Paleo Mom has some great tips on what spices to avoid, what to include, and what to experiment with. Juniper berries fall into the category of spices you should eliminate for a time to determine your sensitivity.