Acai vs. Goji: What’s the Difference?
Açai and Goji are just two of the exotic berries making their way into more mainstream markets. Touted for their antioxidant properties and functional benefits, you can find these berries in everything from smoothie bowls and yogurts to granola and protein bars. Each berry offers its own unique taste and array of health benefits. Here, we explore the differences between the two, and their best uses.
Açaí is the fruit grown from the palm tree Euterpe oleracea, which are native to tropical Central and South America. Also known as palm berries, açai fruit are deep purple in color and look like a cross between a grape and a blueberry. Açai is consumed as a food and beverage, though is also available as a powder and in capsules. The açai berry is a good source of fiber, antioxidants, and heart-healthy fatty acids. Studies have shown in vitro antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of açai, which are mainly attributed to the fruit’s phenolic compounds. Anthocyanin pigments and proanthocyanidin flavonoids have been detected as the main phytochemical compounds, both of which have powerful antioxidant effects. Enjoy açai in smoothie bowls or even salad dressings for an extra jolt of nutrients.
Goji berries (also known as Chinese boxthorn, or wolfberries) are a species of fruit belonging to the Solanaceae family, which also include the potato and tomato plants. Most commercially grown goji berries originate in China, though they can also be found in certain parts of Asia and throughout the Mediterranean. Bright red in color and oblong in shape, goji berries can be consumed raw or dried. They are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and a good source of fiber and protein. Goji berries also boast polyphenols, carotenoids, and polysaccharides, which have proven antioxidant benefits. Enjoy goji berries in oatmeal or breakfast bars, smoothies, salads, or grain bowls.
Many studies suggest that antioxidants in berries in general can help lower heart disease and cancer risk. However, no research suggests that goji or açai are more beneficial than other berries. Enjoy a variety of berries in your diet to reap the many health benefits.