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Superfruits

Goji and Açai: Can these exotic berries improve your health?

By
Monica Reinagel, M.S.,L.D./N
4-minute read
Episode #19

They have miraculous curative properties. You’ve probably seen some of the claims. Superfruit juices are supposed to improve your energy, your sex life, your IQ, and your hairline. You’ll sleep better, lose weight, have clearer skin, and live to be 252. (No, really, one of the arguments for Goji juice is that a guy supposedly ate them every day and reportedly lived to be 252 years old.)

Not bad for fruit juice. No wonder it costs two bucks an ounce.

Now, notice that most of these claims made by people selling you the products. Although I think it has been adequately proven that these products have vastly improved the financial health of those selling them, there is very little research to support any of the health claims made by the manufacturers.

In fact, a recent search of the medical literature turned up just one study— a double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted by a goji juice manufacturer. The researchers found that people consuming their product experienced “increased feelings of general well-being.” Personally, I think I could increase my feeling of general well-being more effectively by investing that extra $4 a day into my retirement fund.

The Bottom Line

I’ve tried açai juice and had goji berries. They’re perfectly tasty and I’m sure they’re good for you. But I’m not convinced any of these superfruits offer anything you can’t get from a healthy diet. In fact, because of the way antioxidants and phytonutrients work together, I think you’d be significantly better off eating a variety of fruits and vegetables (including goji and açai, if you like) than you would doing a daily shot of overpriced fruit juice.

But if the testimonials have convinced you and you have money to burn, you can make some Internet and multi-level marketers very happy. Then again, you could also send me a check for $120 every month. I bet it’ll make you feel better than you have in years. It’s worth a try, isn’t it

Administrative 

This is Monica Reinagel, the Nutrition Diva, with your quick and dirty tips for eating well and feeling fabulous. 

These tips are provided for your information and entertainment and are not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, please work with your health professional to determine what’s right for you. 

Visit nutritiondiva.quickanddirtytips.com for a transcript of this episode, along with links to more information on today’s topic.  If you have a nutrition question for me, send an email to  nutrition@quickanddirtytips.com or leave me a voice mail at 206-203-1438.  I can also, as always, be reached on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for listening today and remember to eat something good for me!

RESOURCES

Acai Berries Anti-Aging Claims; Fact or Fiction? (Mark Stibich, PhD)

What are Goji Berries? (Cathy Wong)

What’s the special nutritional power of phytonutrients? (George Mateljan Foundation)

Can you get too many antioxidants? George Mateljan Foundation

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical study of the general effects of a standardized Lycium barbarum (Goji) Juice, GoChi. (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine)

Acai berries photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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