Kale, Goji Berries & Acai: The Risks and Benefits Behind Today’s Trendiest Foods

Roughly every three days, the health and fitness magazines proclaim some nut, twig, or berry you’ve never heard of the super food of all super foods. The next few months are a mania of product refiguring to add this new miracle shrub to the ingredient list of every food on the shelf. Food companies are great at promoting these new products, but not so great at giving us the full story of their powers.

Here’s the lowdown of the three most popular super foods right now: kale, goji berries, and acai. These super foods need some scrutiny to temper a newly found fame from those of us jumping on a well-advertised sales bandwagon. Decide for yourself. Here are their health benefits along with risks, no hype added.

Kale

Benefits 
-Kale is a source of fiber, vitamins A, C. and K. Vitamin A promotes healthy vision, a righteous immune system and cell growth. Vitamin C is packed with immunities and wrinkle reducing. Vitamin K is an excellent fighter against blood clotting.
-Kale is a member of the cruciferous family, meaning it is a food that fights against cancer.

Risks
-Kale is part of the goitrogen family of greens. Meaning that for some, it can stop your thyroid from being able to absorb iodine properly. The result is suppression of a normal thyroid hormone production that contributes to hypothyroidism, and will slow your metabolism.

Goji Berries

Benefits
-Goji berries are similar in antioxidant complex to blueberries, cherries, cranberries, and strawberries in that they are rich in vitamin A. In Eastern culture they are used to fight fevers, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
-Vitamin A promotes eyesight, cell growth, and a healthy immune system.

Risks
-Goji berries have a history of interacting adversely with blood thinning drugs. Please consult with your doctor if you are on prescribed medication for such.

Acai

Benefits
-Acai is high in the substances of Anthocyanin and flavonoids. These two powerful substances help to reduce life stressors and fight against diseases such as cancer, like all anti-oxidant enriched foods.

Risks
-When a person possesses a sensitivity to pollens and other such allergens, acai should be avoided unless consumed in moderate amounts in respect of such sensitivity.

So there you have it. Are they great foods? YES. Toss them on salads and in smoothies or however else you like ’em. But know they are not a panacea. Balance, moderation, and scrutiny are key to a healthy diet and a healthy life.

Sources: WebMD.com, Livestrong.com

Image courtesy of Apolonia / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • The MTSI Team

    great post Nicole. our society often gets carried away with this kind of stuff, I see it all the time even in the organic space, etc. the key is really moderation like you mentioned. this can be said for anything in life – and has held true for centuries even if we think back to Aristotle’s “nothing in excess”. it is unfortunate that our media highlights the benefits but fails to mention the downsides. it is individual blogs like these that repeatedly tend to fill in the gaps. thank you for taking time to highlight these important details.