Health Claims – do you buy them?
Goji, Açaí, mangosteen, noni - all have taken their fair share of the health limelight. They cure this disease and prevent that disease.
You’ve seen their ads. Simply hand over a couple gold coin and you’ll receive an ounce of a fluid that will save your life.
From my research, these fruit have yet to have their nutrients formally analyzed. Though I can’t find the their nutrition facts on the USDA Nutrient Database website or Nutritiondata (my two preferred calorie-content sites for accuracy and reliability) there are plenty of unofficial websites that will toot these fruits’ health horn.
All are said to have several times more antioxidant power than any other fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are very powerful substances found in produce that protect our body from free radicals that cause oxidative stress. In fact, I deem them an essential part of health. All fruits and vegetables have them in different amounts.
However, these fruits have been touted to:
- Help with dry skin
- Improve melatonin levels
- Cure cravings for sweets
- Promote weight loss
- Help athletes with performance
- Boost energy
- The secret to long lives
- Boost sperm production
- Protect the liver
- Enhance immune function
- Improve circulation
- Improve vision
- Lower blood pressure
- Treat high blood sugar
- Control fever and cough
- Treat genital itch (really? Come on now.)
- Protection from stroke and heart attack
- Halt or reverse growth of cancer
Come on now, really? Magic berries? No. If this were true, then no one in Brazil and Asia would ever get cancer, have heart attacks, get diabetes, and would live forever. Which we know from epidemiological studies is not the case.
I get so frustrated when I see exorbitant amounts of hype for products flaunting extreme benefits – yet have no significant scientific support.
At this point there just aren’t enough studies to substantiate these exaggerated claims. Clinical trials on humans are scarce; the jury is still out on the health benefits.
Companies are (dare I say it) lying to the public and cheating people out of ridiculous amounts of money for 1 ounce of a ‘miraculous’ potion.
I do acknowledge that these fruit have vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help improve our health to some effect; however, I find it difficult to believe that they are more powerful than other ‘superfood’ fruits that you can find in your local grocer. For much less money, might I add.
Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries… apples, bananas, eggplant, asparagus, corn, artichokes, squash, edamame.
I could list them all. Every single one of them provides our body with health benefits. When we eat only certain fruits or vegetables – we’re cheating our bodies out of nutrients it needs for optimal health, energy, and performance.
What about fruit juices? Bottom line: Not as good as fresh, whole fruit. Juices have been processed, during which they’ve lost much of their vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Focus on Fresh.
In reality, we need a variety of fruits and vegetables in our diets. Every color of fruit and vegetable has a different array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – so eating a ‘rainbow’ of colors throughout the week will ensure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs for optimal health.