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extra ingredients for green smoothies [part 4 of 7]

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | Feb 21, 2009

Goji berries

Goji berries are an interesting food because they are consumed regularly by the Earth’s longest-living people for at least 1,700 years, as well as used medicinally.   As scientists began to study their properties, they found that the fruit is 13 percent protein, which is unheard of for a fruit, and will increase the protein ratio of almost any green smoothie.

They also have several B vitamins and Vitamin E, also rare in fruits, 18 amino acids, and possibly more antioxidants than any other food ever studied (chocolate is a competitor).   Remember that antioxidants are scavenging free radicals, literally mopping up those little cancer-causing destroyers in the body.   Many of the compounds found in abundance in the goji berry are so newly researched that we are only just beginning to understand how these nutrients cause increased disease resistance.

Goji berries are very expensive, up to $20/lb.   I and some of my local readers have planted goji plants, which do well in cold winter climates, since the indigenous climates it originates in (such as Tibet) are cold and mountainous as well.   The bushes become fairly large and grow quickly.

Acai berries (pronounced “ah-sah-ee”)

Acai is a very trendy health product showing up in mostly overpriced pasteurized juices sold through network marketing channels.   It’s native to the Amazon rainforests and, like gojis, they are off the chart in antioxidants and anthocyanins that have been studied for their presence in red wine and their heart-protecting benefits (but without the attendant health problems caused by alcohol).   Like gojis, acai berries are also high in essential fatty acids, the omega-6’s and omega-9’s, and they are very expensive.

I would recommend, if you do want to spend the money, buying the whole berries rather than concentrated juices.   The juices are artificially high in sugars, even if they are natural sugars, and highly acidic as well.   The nutrients may be concentrated, but pasteurized juices have no enzymes and therefore draw on the body’s ability to manufacture them, and sugars are concentrated as well.   Wherever possible, use the whole food rather than a processed or reduced version of them.    

Posted in: Green Smoothies, Nutrition

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