Toxicity of acorns

Dangers and contraindications of eating acorns

cook oak acorns
Oak acorns, they have to be unbittered to be eaten

Are acorns edible or are they toxic?

Not all acorns are edible, but it depends on the tree they come from. Within the same species, there are trees that produce sweet acorns and others that make them bitter.

Acorn toxicity

Some acorns have a very high amount of tannins, especially those that have a bitter taste. Therefore it is advisable to avoid the consumption of those acorns that have a bitter taste.

However, this fruit is very  beneficial for people with  obesity, type 2 diabetes and bad cholesterol, so it does not deserve to be wasted.

What toxic components do acorns have?

Acorns contain many tannins, responsible for their bitter and astringent or rough taste. Tannins have properties to lower cholesterol and sugar. However, in excess they are very indigestible, can cause digestive irritations and vomiting.

You have to learn to cook acorns properly to reduce their tannins a little.

It is recommended to look for those trees that produce sweet acorns, which will also be the ones with the lowest tannin content. Sour acorns have a higher content of tannins (bitter substances) and can cause poisoning in case of important ingestion.

Effects of tannins in acorns (acorn poisoning)

The tannins of the acorns that are found in all parts of the plant, stand out  responsible for the harsh taste of the fruits. In high doses, tannins can cause intestinal disorders and irritation of the digestive mucosa. This is because the action of these components consists on  drying out the digestive secretions, blocking mucus secretion.

This property is useful for stopping diarrhea, but it is very harmful to the stomach.

Tannin poisoning causes vomiting and gastritis. This is the reason why acorns must be eaten  with caution.

How to diminish the acorns tannins so that they become not toxic

Generally  acorns are eaten previously cooked, although in some cases, there are trees that produce sweet acorns, which can be eaten raw, such as chestnuts (without abuse).

Can you eat raw acorns?

Sweet acorns can be eaten raw, such as chestnuts, but it is not recommended to eat many raw acorns, as they can be indigestible. In general, acorns have to be unbittered before being consumed.

In addition, acorns should be consumed moderately (excess may be indigestible). It is also better to eat them after meals (or in a recipe), and  you should not eat them with your stomach empty.

punto rojo More information on acorn

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

2 September, 2022

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