Goji berries have the same nutrients as fruits and vegetables and a placebo effect

December 16, 2010

While the consumption of Goji berries has risen dramatically over the last months, their properties have not been scientifically proven yet by any relevant clinical intervention study with humans. Most of Goji berries' components are contained in the recommended fruit and vegetable intake in balanced diets. The only difference is the "significant placebo effect" on people consuming them. Also, the species Lycium Barbarum -to which Goji berries exported from China belongs- originally comes from the Mediterranean and belongs to the Solanaceae family, the same family to which potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and other vegetables included in the Mediterranean diet belong.

Such is the explanation given by Professor Emilio Martínez de Victoria Muñoz at the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science of the University of Granada. He also remarks that the supposed scientific studies endorsing the beneficial properties of Goji berries "were exclusively developed in vitro and in animals in China, but few have been conducted in humans out of China", although "the effects are likely to be the same".

Numerous Nutrients

Goji berries contain numerous nutrients, as stated in a thorough bibliographic review recently published in the journal Planta médica (Medicinal Plant). This fruit contain antioxidants, complex polysaccharides (proteoglycan, which are considered to be the source of its beneficial effects on health) and monosaccharides, lutein and zeaxanthin (beneficial for the eyes), fiber, proteins and carbohydrates. Thus, "these berries can not have any damaging or neutral effect on human health", the University of Granada professor states. Caution must be taken with potential allergic reactions, and patients taking anticoagulant drugs should avoid the intake of this fruit.

However, "the consumption of these berries is but another fad" Martínez de Victoria warns, remarking that "Goji berries will not have any positive effect on people who do not follow a balanced diet". Anyway, anyone buying this product should pay attention to the label "to avoid adulterations, which are widely spread in the market". Berries must belong to the Lycium Barbarum or Lycium Chinense species, "which are the ones that contain the nutrients and healthy effects claimed".

The director of the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science of the University of Granada warns that "miracle foods do not exist" and reminds that the only secret to enjoy a good health is "a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and regular physical exercise".
-end-
Contact: Prof. Emilio Martínez de Victoria Muñoz. Institute of Nutrition and Food Science of the University of Granada. Tel. +34 958 241 000 ext. 20201. Cell phone: Emilio Martínez de Victoria Muñoz. E-mail: emiliom@ugr.es

Accessible on English version

Accesible en Versión española

Accessible sur le site Version française

University of Granada

Related Nutrition Articles from Brightsurf:

Here's how to improve packaged foods nutrition
FOP nutrition labeling results in a significant improvement in the nutritional quality of food products.

'Front of package' nutrition labels improved nutrition quality
A new study analyzing 16 years of data on tens of thousands of products finds that the adoption of nutrition data on ''front of package'' labels is associated with improved nutritional content of those foods and their competitors.

Aquaculture's role in nutrition in the COVID-19 era
A new paper from American University examines the economics of an aquaculture industry of the future that is simultaneously environmentally sustainable and nutritious for the nearly 1 billion people worldwide who depend on it.

Fathers are more likely to be referred for nutrition or exercise counseling
Fatherhood status has been linked to medical providers' weight-related practices or counseling referrals.

Refugee children get better health, nutrition via e-vouchers
Electronic food vouchers provided young Rohingya children in Bangladeshi refugee camps with better health and nutrition than direct food assistance, according to new research led by Cornell University, in conjunction with the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Leaders call for 'Moonshot' on nutrition research
Leading nutrition and food policy experts outline a bold case for strengthening federal nutrition research in a live interactive session as part of NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE, a virtual conference hosted by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN).

Featured research from NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE
Press materials are now available for NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE, a dynamic virtual event showcasing new research findings and timely discussions on food and nutrition.

Diet, nutrition have profound effects on gut microbiome
A new literature review from scientists at George Washington University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology suggests that nutrition and diet have a profound impact on the microbial composition of the gut.

Are women getting adequate nutrition during preconception and pregnancy?
In a Maternal & Child Nutrition analysis of published studies on the dietary habits of women who were trying to conceive or were pregnant, most studies indicated that women do not meet nutritional recommendations for vegetable, cereal grain, or folate intake.

Supermarkets and child nutrition in Africa
Hunger and undernutrition are widespread problems in Africa. At the same time, overweight, obesity, and related chronic diseases are also on the rise.

Read More: Nutrition News and Nutrition Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.