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Super Goji Berry: Choosing the Best Source Among the Marketing Hype

Thursday, February 14, 2008 by: Teya Skae
Tags: goji berries, superfoods, health news

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Delicious
(NaturalNews) When walking down the aisles of health food shelves, leading supermarkets and shopping centre stalls you may notice an array of Goji juice bottles flying at you with amazing health claims, ranging from a cure for chronic fatigue, diabetes, even cancer!

The hype of the Goji juice was probably the biggest hype of 2007 if not one of the biggest in the last 10 years. Is Goji really such an amazing superfood or just hype?

Which Goji's are we actually talking about?

Goji berries are known by many names, Wolfberry is the common name for the fruit of two very closely related species: Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense. Other names include Chinese wolfberry, Ningxia berries, barbary matrimony vine and bocksdorn. Unrelated to the plant's geographic origin, the names Tibetan goji and Himalayan goji are in common use in the health food market.

As there are at least 17 knows species of Goji berry it is important to emphasize that the research that took the world by storm including Oprah and many celebrities was done on Lycium barbarum.

Now let's look at the Great Goji Story!

The following extracts is from an article Goji Berries 'More Fad Than Fact' of June 17, 2007 published by www.news.com.au (http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,2191625...) .

"They are extolled as a 'miracle food' with powers to prevent cancer, heart disease and obesity. But experts warn trendy goji berries are nothing more than an expensive and cleverly marketed fruit. The dried red berries and juice have become the latest nutrition fad to hit Australia... Suppliers say sales are sky-rocketing, with one company reportedly making $4 million in sales per month".

"According to marketing, the berry is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world, has anti-ageing properties and can help everything from cellulite and diabetes to impotence. But the NSW Food Authority forbids distributors from making any health claims about goji berries, which are usually imported from Tibet or China".

How can we know the effectiveness of any fruit, food or supplement?

By its Antioxidant capacity of course! And how can we know what that antioxidant capacity is? Currently, by its ORAC scale rating (Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity). The ORAC scale is a standardized test used by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to measure the Total Antioxidant Potency of foods and nutritional supplements, specifically to measure available compounds that destroy and neutralize free-radicals in the body.

ORAC was developed by Dr. Guohua Cao, a physician and chemist with the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore. ORAC is also tested at Brunswick Labs, an independent laboratory in Wareham, Massachusetts US, which was partially subsidized by USDA. The standard ORAC test uses 100 Grams of food or 100grams of supplement.

Here are the ORAC scores of certain fruits and vegetables for comparison (in not particular order):

Cherries 670

Red bell pepper 710

Red grapes 739

Oranges 750

Beets 840

Broccoli 890

Alfalfa sprouts 930

Plums 949

Brussel sprouts 980

Raspberries 1220

Spinach 1260

Strawberries 1540

Kale - 1770

Black berries 2036

Blueberries 2400

Raisins 2830

Prunes 5770

Goji Berries 25,300

Source *Brunswick Laboratories MA, USA

The health resorts resulting from the amazing longevity properties of Goji berries were done on the true Lycium barbarum species that are typically grown in Ningxia province of China. Probably due to the fact that many of the cultivating areas in Ningxia province are pristine and classified as organic, so the soil would be rich in minerals and fertile in nutrients for growing these berries. It is these species of goji berries that suppliers rave about based on their clinical tests and PubMed articles.

As for the hype surrounding Himalayan Goji, that is a whole story beyond the scope of this article. However, if you are curious, check Berry Bad Things in the Sydney Morning Herald, June 25, 2007 by Jack Marx. It delves into one of most strategic marketing campaigns of the last 10 years (http://blogs.smh.com.au/thedailytruth/archiv...) .

Now, back to the humble Lycium Barbarum berry and why it is a superfood As Dr. Hugo Rodier, MD, the author of The Superior Ningxia Wolfberry: A Powerful, Natural Ally Against Disease and Aging, says in his book:

"While wolfberry can grow in many different locations, it is important to understand that the research [published in The Superior Ningxia Wolfberry] was conducted on wolfberry (Lycium barbarum), which originated in Ningxia, China. Although there are actually 17 different species of wolfberries, the Ningxia wolfberry is the most nutritionally dense, and the most researched and tested wolfberry on the market."

In support of this view PubMed, the US government's comprehensive database of 15 million medical journal citations, lists a total of 102 articles on Lycium species. Fifty of these are on Lycium barbarum. Most of these concern laboratory tests and five articles mention cancer.

"The amount of antioxidants that you maintain in your body is directly proportional to how long you will live", says Dr Richard Cutler, Director of the Anti-Ageing Research Department of the National Institute of Health, Washington, D.C.

What makes Goji a superfood?

By its nutritional and ORAC scale value it is a superfood indeed. Here is the breakdown based on 100 grams of dried Lycium Barbarum goji berries:

* 21 trace dietary minerals

* 18 amino acids, 8 of which are essential for life

* At least 4 polysaccharides - which fortify the immune system and much more

* 5 carotenoids, including beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, lutein, lycopene and cryptoxanthin

* 112 mg of Calcium, providing about 10% of Dietary Reference Intake (DRI)

* 1,132 mg Potassium giving about 24% of the DRI

* 9 mg of Iron 90% DRI

* 2 mg Zinc - 18% DRI

* 50 micrograms Selenium - 91% DRI. Selenium is needed for the functioning of healthy thyroid gland.
ORAC units over 25,300

Overall this goji berry offers a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that work synergistically to create a very powerful antioxidant effect - nothing more, and nothing less!

So next time a goji berry juice sample flies at you wherever you may be, just stop and ask 3 simple questions:

1) Is it Lycium Barbarum species?

2) Is it certified organic?

3) Is it from Ningxia province in China?

If the source scored "yes" to all 3 of these questions, you have the goji that is a true superfood.

If you are looking at all the goji juices out there, simply chose the ones that come in glass bottles, as opposed to plastic. It obviously defeats the purpose of all those wonderful antioxidants and nutrients drowning in their own plastic bottles. Read the label and if you come across fructose or preservative #'s 202, 211, 281 or 331 then you are wasting time and money.

Let's remember, not all Goji products are created equal or especially marketed equal. As the wise caveat goes: 'Buyer be ware'; especially when it comes to Goji juice.

Fortunately, there are bona fide Lycium Barbarum goji berries and juice available on the market to date. While there are many companies that are making big claims with their Goji berry sources being superior to other berries, just sticking to what we know about the benefits of the Lycium Barbarum species is enough to source the real high value antioxidant berries from the marketing hyped ones.

References:

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WolfberryNews stories)

BBC News coverage (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/...)

Berry Bad Things The Daily Truth by Jack Marx, Sydney Morning Herald, June 25, 2007
(http://blogs.smh.com.au/thedailytruth/archiv...) 

About the author

Teya Skae M.A. ATMS
Corporate Wellness Presenter/Researcher and Author
As the founder of Empowered Living Teya has developed a results based I.D.E.A.L Solutions for increasing your energy, focus and personal Success!
Teya is also a QUIT smoking specialist with proven results in one session guaranteed.
For Tangible Results and Solutions to Fat Loss, Physical, Emotional and Mental Fitness visit
www.empowered-living.com.au







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