This rare citrus fruit grown in the Calabrian region of Southern Italy has long been appraised for its beneficial effects on one’s well-being. The bergamot contains five unique antioxidant polyphenols in unusually concentrated amounts which allows the fruit to help protect the body’s cells from free radical damage.
"Citrus fruits are rich in flavonoids and have long been associated with improving human health outcomes in areas that include improved immune response, coronary artery disease, heart failure, and high cholesterol. One citrus fruit in particular that has gained attention for improving health outcomes is the bergamot (Citrus bergamia). This fruit is primarily found in Southern Italy in the area known as Calabria with attributes that include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cholesterol reducing functions. The bergamot is unique in that it contains an especially high content of flavonoids over other citrus fruits. Flavonoids are antioxidants, or substances which some scientists believe reduce chemical reactions in the body that damage cells.
The results of five different clinical trials using bergamot in various forms suggest the polyphenol fraction can lower LDL-C and total cholesterol. Several studies suggested that bergamot polyphenols can reduce triglycerides and increase HDL-C, however, the results were not consistent across all studies. One possible explanation for this variability (i.e. TG and HDL-C) is that bergamot preparation, extraction, and standardization varied in several studies. Consistently in all of the clinical trials bergamot appeared to be well tolerated with studies ranging from 30 days to 6 months."
- Integr Food Nutr Metab. 2019 Mar; 6(2): 10.15761/IFNM.1000249.
"In a month-long study of 77 patients published in 2013 in the International Journal of Cardiology, 1,000
milligrams daily of bergamot extract lowered cholesterol from an average of 278 milligrams per deciliter
of blood to 191. “Bergamot polyphenolic fraction enhances rosuvastatin-induced effect on LDL-cholesterol,
LOX-1 expression and protein kinase B phosphorylation in patients with hyperlipidemia".
A 2015 study
conducted by the Journal of Clinical Lipidology suggests that citrus bergamot may inhibit cholesterol
absorption in the gut. “Citrus Bergamot Improves Atherogenic Lipoprotein Particle Characteristics in
Patients With Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Metabolic Syndrome."
The pomegranate has a long, rich history and has been a celebrated throughout the centuries in art and literature. One of the earliest cultivated fruits, this crimson fruit appears in Greek mythology, in the Old Testament, and in beautiful Italian frescoes. It was the proud jewel of the Mediterranean symbolizing beauty, fertility, and everlasting life. Today, modern science suggests that there are health benefits to this ancient fruit which has been found to possess powerful antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
There is a significant body of research indicating that pomegranates boost heart health. Studies reveal that the diverse and rich antioxidant content decreases inflammation and thickening of the artery walls. Pomegranate juice also seems to prevent blood cells called platelets from clumping together, reducing the buildup of cholesterol and plaque. Other research indicates reduction of blood cholesterol and blood pressure when pomegranate juice is included in a well-balanced diet.
Pomegranates are also a good source of potassium. Without potassium it would be impossible for your body to maintain a regular heartbeat or properly transmit nerve signals to muscles so they can contract. Potassium is also vital for maintaining the balance of water in the body."
The goji berry, which has long been part of Chinese culture and traditional medicine, is now being viewed as a superfood beyond China. In 2013, a young group of Italian growers noted that the climate and soil conditions in Calabria would be highly favorable for the cultivation of this red berry fruit packed with antioxidants and powerful properties. They made a commitment to grow this renowned fruit without the use of pesticides or fertilizers and incorporate it into the Mediterranean diet.
As mentioned, goji berries contain a wide array of plant-based antioxidants. Some of the primary antioxidants found in goji berries include polysaccharides, carotenoids, and phenolics. Each of these compounds is related to the vast health benefits that goji berries offer.
Polysaccharides—a type of carbohydrate—are found in goji berries in the form of arabinose, galactose, glucose, rhamnose, mannose, xylose, and galacturonic acid. These polysaccharides are known to support energy production, digestive health, and cardio-protection (the protection of the health of the heart).
Carotenoids are responsible for the bright orange and red color of goji berries (similar to carrots) and provide a specific carotenoid called zeaxanthin, which is advantageous for eye health. The level of zeaxanthin is in goji berries is higher than in any other plant.
Phenolics acid and flavonoids are known for their antiviral, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory activities, protecting the body from chronic disease. The high antioxidant quality of phenolics and flavonoids in goji berries makes them an advantageous antioxidant as well as a nutritive and immune-boosting source.
- Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019; 2019: 2437397.
- Published online 2019 Jan 9. doi: 10.1155/2019/2437397
A Natural Energy Booster
A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that volunteers who drank goji berry juice daily for two weeks reported increased energy levels, improved athletic performance, better focus, and mental sharpness compared to those taking a placebo.