24 Great for you Raw Foods to Add to Smoothies for Superior Health

smoothiesIn an excerpt from my 14 raw vegan weight loss smoothies article, I state that smoothies “aid in obesity prevention and add countless other health benefits.” (1)

They are a great addition to any diet… Continue reading

The Link between Nightshades, Chronic Pain and Inflammation

tomatoFew people are familiar with the term nightshades, and many will be surprised to learn that consuming foods from this plant group may be contributing to their pain and inflammation. Nightshades belong to the Solanaceae family which includes over 2,000 species.  They also include some of the most popular foods consumed today; Continue reading

The Invasion of Chemicals in Vitamins and Supplements

The general public is still shopping at Walmart and common drugstores for synthetic multivitamins and calcium supplements. The bad news is what you don’t know might hurt you.

Walking into a nutritional nightmare is easy if you don’t know about supplements. Dangerous supplement’s can reverse what you are trying to accomplish. If you pick a cheap poison off the corporate shelves, you’re actually making things worse. Stop focusing on RDA percentages, and take a quick read of “other ingredients.”

This is where one finds mind-blowing additives which are used to bind everything together, making your liver and kidneys toxic. The hit list includes synthetic sugars, talc, dyes, sodium benzoate, methylcellulose, carnauba wax, silicon or titanium dioxide, Continue reading

Introducing – Goji Berries

Introducing – Goji Berries

Other Names: Lycium barbarum, wolfberry, gou qi zi, Fructus lycii

Goji berries grow on an evergreen shrub found in temperate and subtropical regions in China, Mongolia and in the Himalayas in Tibet. They are in the nightshade (Solonaceae) family.

Goji berries are usually found dried. They are shriveled red berries that look like red raisins.

Why do people use goji berries?

Goji berries have been used for 6,000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet and India to:

    * protect the liver

    * help eyesight

    * improve sexual function and fertility

    * strengthen the legs

    * boost immune function

    * improve circulation

    * promote longevity

Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. One of zeaxanthin’s key roles is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light and acting as an antioxidant. In fact, increased intake of foods containing zeathanthin may decrease the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 65.

In recent years, goji juice has become popular as a health beverage. Companies marketing goji juice often mention the unsupported claim that a man named Li Qing Yuen consumed goji berries daily and lived to be 252 years old. Marketers also list extensive health benefits of goji juice, even though there are few published clinical trials in humans.

What research has been done on goji berries?

Goji has only been tested on humans in two published studies. A Chinese study published in the Chinese Journal of Oncology in 1994 found that 79 people with cancer responded better to treatment when goji was added to their regimen.

There have been several test tube studies that show that goji berry contains antioxidants and that goji extracts may prevent the growth of cancer cells, reduce blood glucose, and lower cholesterol levels. However, that doesn’t necessary mean that goji will have the same benefits when taken as a juice or tea.

Although goji berries like the ones used in traditional Chinese medicine aren’t very expensive, goji juice is very pricey. Considering that a 32-ounce bottle of goji juice (about an 18-day supply) can run as high as $50 USD, the evidence isn’t compelling enough at this time to justify the cost of goji juice.

Also, we don’t know the side effects of regular goji consumption, or whether it will interfere with treatments or medications.

What do goji berries taste like?

Goji berries have a mild tangy taste that is slightly sweet and sour. They have a similar shape and chewy texture as raisins.

In traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries are eaten raw, brewed into a tea, added to Chinese soups, or made into liquid extracts.

Goji juice is also available, usually in 32-ounce bottles.

Goji berries have appeared in snack foods in North America. For example, the health food store Trader Joe’s sells a goji berry trail mix.

Possible drug interactions

Goji berries may interact with anticoagulant drugs (commonly called “blood-thinners”), such as warfarin (Coumadin®). There was one case report published in the journal Annals of Pharmacotherapy of a 61-year old woman who had an increased risk of bleeding, indicated by an elevated international normalized ratio (INR). She had been drinking 3-4 cups daily of goji berry tea. Her blood work returned to normal after discontinuing the goji berry tea.

Where to find goji berries

Whole goji berries are available at Chinese herbal shops.

Goji juice can be found in some health food stores, online stores, and through network marketers.