Goji and acai berries both provide antioxidants and vitamin A, but goji berries have a few advantages. You can buy whole, dried goji berries, while acai berries are usually sold as a powder or juice. Goji berries also contain antioxidants you won't get from acai berries. No matter which one you prefer, be sure to check the nutrition facts label on the brand you buy because the nutrients they contain vary from one product to the next.
Acai and Goji Comparison
The acai palm tree thrives in South America and produces dark-purple, grape-sized fruits. The fruit deteriorates quickly after it's harvested, so acai berries are usually juiced or dried and ground into a powder that you can add to smoothies and yogurt. Goji berries, or wolfberries, come from a Chinese shrub that produces elongated, red berries. They're commonly sold as dried fruit or as a juice. You can eat dried goji berries out of hand or add them to cereal and baked goods.
Both berries contain protein and vitamin A. Acai is a source of unsaturated fats, while goji berries are rich in vitamin C. Goji fruit are also a good source of polysaccharides, which ferment in the large intestine and provide energy to healthy bacteria. The level of nutrients you'll get from goji and acai varies depending on the brand, whether they're mixed with other ingredients and the type of product, since nutrients are lost during processing.
Goji and acai berries are natural sources of plant-based antioxidants called flavonoids, but goji has a type of antioxidant you won't get from acai. Goji berries contain a carotenoid called zeaxanthin, which is an antioxidant that helps protect your eyes from damage caused by blue light. More research is needed to prove whether either berry promotes any health benefits in people, however. As with other other nutrients, different products may not have the same amount of antioxidants. When supplemental forms of both berries were tested, their antioxidant activity prior to digestion was highly variable. They were also rated lower in antioxidants than pomegranate and green tea supplements, according to a report in the May 2014 issue of the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry."
Potential Side Effects
Due to a lack of research on acai berries, there isn't enough information to know if they're safe or cause side effects, according to MedlinePlus. Enough studies have been conducted on goji berries to know that you should not consume them if you're pregnant because they contain a chemical that may induce miscarriage. Goji berries can affect your blood pressure and blood sugar. If you take medications for either condition, don't consume goji berries unless you consult your physician. Also avoid goji if you take blood-thinning medications such as warfarin, reports MedlinePlus.
- Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects of Chinese Wolfberry
- Clemson University: Acai and Goji Berries
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: Phytochemical and Nutrient Composition of the Freeze-Dried Amazonian Palm Berry, Euterpe Oleraceae Mart. (Acai)
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: Variability in the Antioxidant Activity of Dietary Supplements From Pomegranate, Milk Thistle, Green Tea, Grape Seed, Goji and Acai: Effects of in Vitro Digestion
- MedlinePlus: Lycium
- MedlinePlus: Acai
- Linus Pauling Institute: Carotenoids