Friday, June 5, 2009

Goji Is Back In The Spotlight

Goji berry (Lycium barbarum L.) has been revered as a king of plants for thousands of years. Its use in Asia as a nutritive food dates back nearly 5,000 years and may even predate some of the Egyptian pyramids. Goji is about 10 times higher in antioxidants than blueberries, We know that there's a lot of scientific evidence supporting the fact that antioxidants may prevent disease and help prevent aging as well. this powerful superfruit is rich in protein, vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and iron and has been touted for its purported ability to improve vision and nourish kidneys, among other benefits.

Hailed as the newest super food, goji berry awareness has blossomed as a result of this trend. Reporters for the Natural Product Insider a leading journal in the natural products industry had this to say about Goji:

While many of the goji berry’s health benefits are derived from the historical use of the plant as a medicine, it is uncontested that these tiny berries contain a wealth of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, phytosterols, prebiotic fiber, EFAs and amino acids. Goji berries also contain a rich supply of linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (LNA). The oil extracted from the goji seed is reported to contain 67.8 g LA and 3.4 g LNA per 100 g of seed oil. The standard American diet is sorely lacking in these important fats; prolonged deficiency of LA and LNA can result in hair loss, kidney and liver failure, miscarriage, tissue inflammation, high blood pressure and edema.

Goji berry is also noted for its high level of antioxidant carotenoids that can protect the body from damage by neutralizing free radicals. The most abundant carotenoid found in goji is zeaxanthin, which has a protective effect on the eyes. Goji berries contain 162 mg of zeaxanthin per 100 g of fruit; this is considerably higher than other edible carotenoid-rich plants such as spinach, which only contains 12.2 mg of zeaxanthin per serving.

Goji berries are also rich in polysaccharides, chains of sugar molecules that may support the regulation of the immune system. In addition, polysaccharides are an excellent source of prebiotic fiber, which is the fermentable or soluble fiber that gets processed into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the intestinal tract, and provides food for beneficial intestinal flora (probiotics) that aid digestion and nutrient absorption. Daily intake of prebiotic fiber is associated with a reduced risk of several prevalent diseases including obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and a variety of digestive imbalances.

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