Wednesday, August 8, 2012

goji berries - another superfood? just what we need.

goji berries - another superfood? just what we need.

Hasn't the superfood trend run its course? I remember Oprah pimping acai berries a few years ago. More recently Dr. Oz did pieces on chia seeds and raspberry ketones.

Up next: Goji Berries. Get ready to start hearing a lot more about them.

From the Greatist blog:

"Goji berries could have almost as many superpowers as Superman himself: One study found that after consuming the berries in juice form for 14 days, subjects reported increased energy levels and improved athletic performance, quality of sleep, focus, digestive regularity, and mental sharpness — not to mention reduced stress and fatigue

One study showed that consuming goji berry juice could provide protection from UV rays by reducing the inflammatory reaction of skin when it starts to get sunburned[3]. Which brings us to the berry's antioxidant properties: A compound in goji berries was shown to activate antioxidant enzymes in older mice, which could point to the berries' apparent anti-aging properties that the Chinese have sworn by for centuries

Some studies have also pointed to goji berries' potential for cancer prevention. In two different studies, goji berries' polysaccharides (a type of carbohydrate) were shown to inhibit the growth of both prostate cancer and colon cancer cells

gojis also contain melatonin, which has been shown to help control weight gain, reduce triglycerides, increase "good" (HDL) cholesterol and decrease "bad" (LDL) cholesterol[7]. Since melatonin is also the hormone in charge of regulating the body's time cues, goji berries and other foods rich in melatonin could also help improve sleep[8]. In another study, mice sick with the flu showed improved immune response when given a mixture of milk and goji berry juice

It's time for the big, fat "however." There hasn't been enough research to scientifically prove that goji berries actually possess the magical properties described above.

Really - it''s that simple? I put a few of these goji berries in my trail mix, and next thing I know I'm impervious to sun burns, the flu, and cancer; I've got the energy of a teenager; and I'm living long enough to wish my great-great-grandkids happy graduation? Hell, where can I order the large package?!

Come on - I'm all for high-quality calories. Feeding your body the most nutrients in the fewest calories is an optimal strategy for healthy living. So let's go ahead and add some acai, chia, raspberries, and/or goji to our diet. But can we please stop pretending we can eat a few berries and solve the major problems caused by decades of SAD eating? (SAD = Standard American Diet).

-Chris Butterworth