Beauty and the berry

Beauty and the berry

Beauty and the berry

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  • Author: MyVillage

Beauty and the berry



Feature

Last season it was blueberries, this season it’s goji berries: the latest celebrity beauty must-have.

Looking at the shrivelled little red raisin-like berries, beauty doesn’t spring to mind. The likes of Madonna and Liz Hurley, however, put a lot of faith in this en vogue superfood. They believe that it the humble goji berry will help to keep them young and beautiful from the inside out, slowing the ageing process and improving skin. The hype is that they really are ‘berry’ good.

If you have grown tired of eating half a ton of the latest superfood unearthed from a relatively untouched corner of the world in the vague hope of holding back the wrinkles, you are probably a little wary of such seasonal hype. But, if like many, you see hope in the hype, read on.

The goji berry has been ‘discovered’ after being used for centuries in Tibet and Mongolia where it is believed to increase longevity and improve quality of life. A folklore hero called Li Qing Uyen is said to have lived to the ripe old age of 252 years after a lifetime of eating goji berries, although that just seems down right silly to most.

When it comes to fact and not fiction, there are some scientific facts to warrant the interest in the goji berry. They are said to contain 500 times more vitamin C by weight than an orange. They contain over 20 trace minerals such as copper, calcium and zinc, while containing more iron than a beef steak by weight. They also contain 18 amino acids, including all eight essential amino acids, vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E. They are also a rich source of carotenoids and contain more beta carotene than carrot by weight (though nobody is claiming that goji berries will help you see in the dark). Beta carotene is known to help protect skin from sun-damage as well as fight heart disease and defend against cancer.

Nutrition, as sensible people know, feeds the skin, so it would be understandable to assume that nutritionally-packed goji berries may well provide some beauty benefits.
More sciency people talk of their action as an anti-inflammatory and their ability to rejuvenate skin cells. They do contain something called polysaccharides, which fortify the immune system and stimulate the secretion of a rejuvenative human growth hormone by the pituitary gland.

Dietician Jacqui Lowdon, of University Hospital, Cardiff, says that goji berries do sound “amazing”. However, she has a few sensible words before you gorge yourself: “A serving of one berry is not going to turn your life around. That requires a combination of things: overall weight, attention to fat intake and types of fats, fibre intake, vitamins and hydration. It’s an overall package.”

You can buy 125g bag of goji berries at Tesco for £3.99. They are also available in selected health food stores and from online retailers.

Picture caption: This season’s must-have fruit is the goji berry, said to keep you young and beautiful from the inside out.

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MyVillage, 19th October

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