|Acai Berry vs. Goji Berry|
Acai Berry vs. Goji Berry
In today's matchup, we compare the best acai berry vs. the best goji berry. What are the health benefits of each, and which should you buy? Without further ado, here is the goji berry!
The Goji Berry
The Goji Berry is a small reddish-orange fruit generally found in Southeastern Europe and Asia. It is unclear where the name "Goji" actually comes from, as the fruit was first popularized in the United States by marketers. One possibility is that it is an English rendering of the Chinese name for the plant "gouqi". It is sometimes called the Wolfberry, particularly in Europe. The fruit of the goji berry is a red-orange ellipsoid anywhere from 1-2 cm long, about as big as a peanut, but they look like the color of tomatoes. As you can see, the goji berry is a very attractive fruit when pure and ripe.
The largest cultivation of the goji berry comes from China, where it is grown on plantations, and is sometimes called the "red diamond." Such a name shows you how important it is to the people who consume it! And this is not surprising as Chinese medicine practioners often use it in their healing arts.
The fruit must be hand picked or shaken from the vine on which it grows once the fruit is ripe. The fruit is then generally dried out in the sun or mechanically dehydrated to preserve the berries. Unfortunately, it is the case that on some Goji Berries imported from China, there are found high levels of insecticides and fungicides. These belie the practices of some Chinese harvesters of the goji. The USDA has had to seize these products. And to this day, despite claims that the goji meets certain "organic standards", it is a well known practice to use fungicide and herbicide products on the goji berry when they are cultivated in Asia. This is true both of what is called Tibetan goji berry and the Himalayan goji berry (incidentally, whose geographical names are simply used for marketing.) So if you are considering purchasing the goji, look carefully at the certification and how it is grown.
Goji berries are almost never found fresh oustide of their geographical regions of production. Nearly always they are dried and and sold in boxes. Some may taste a little moist like raisins, others may be much more dry tasting.
Goji berries are often used as additions to rice and soup dishes and is used in combination with yam and licorice root to add flavor to these concoctions. Goji can also be used to make some kinds of herbal tea and flavored coffee, and even flavored bear. There is a wine called gouqi jiu that is also made from the goji berry.
Now, lets discuss some of the health and medicinal uses of the Goji Berry.
The goji leaf and bark are used in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) as an anti-inflammatory agent and as an inhibitor of fungi and bacteria. It is commonly claimed among marketeres that goji berry's polysaccharides are effective antioxidants, but the research has not developed to conclusively support this. The goji berry has a significant amount of zeaxanthin, which may have a link to a decrease in degenerative eye conditions. And, in case you are wondering, the goji berry has not been conclusively shown to magically lower your weight. Published studies, however, have suggested goji may be anti-cancerous, anti-inflammatory, and neuro-protective.
For every 100 g of goji, you will get:
Fat - 10 g
Fiber - 10 g
Carbohydrate - 68 g
Protein - 12 g
Calories - 370 g
In 100 grams of goji, you will also find 112 mg of calcium, 1132 mg of potassium, 9 mg iron, 2 mg zinc, anywhere between 29-148 mg Vitamin C.
The Goji Berry has an impressive lineup of nutrients and phytochemicals: 18 amino acids, 6 essential vitamins, 3 essential fatty acids, 5 carotenoids, including beta-carotene (7 mg per 100 g), zeaxanthin (betwen 2.4 to 82.4 mg per 100 g), lycopene, and others.
Marketers of the goji berry can make some unqualified claims. The precise nutritional benefit of the goji berry is difficult to ascertain due to differences in berry maturation at the time of picking, soil conditions, harvest handling and processing, residual water content, and duration of storage. These variables can significantly affect the contents of the individual nutrients mentioned above.
A common claim, however, is that goji berry has the highest concentration of vitamin C. In matter of fact, however, the dried goji berry has vitamin C comparable to citrus and strawberries (so, it's good, but not THAT super).
Goji berry juice is often found in health food stores. However, as stated in previous articles, the word "goji" can be applied to a food label even if the mixture only has a little bit of it. The percentage of goji juice is not revealed. Also, some marketers have been cited by the FDA as claiming the goji to be used in the "cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease," when goji berries nor goji juice have had no such scientific evaluation.
In summary then, the goji berry is a very healthy berry, but be wary of overwrought claims by goji marketers.
How does the best goji berry compare with the best acai berry?
The acai berry has been shown to have high levels of anti-oxidants and has been demonstrated in this study to have anti-cancer properties in a science lab. Goji berry is currently behind the acai in effectiveness of research.
Goji and acai, however, both contain high levels of nutrients, especially vitamins and essential fats (like the omega fats). These make them both very desirable for consumption. As is the case with these newly available fruits, investigate the claims of anything with the label "goji" or "acai" and find out what percent is in fact the fruit that you desire. In our opinion, only 100% juice / puree is desirable to buy.
Til next time, thanks for reading!