In today’s world of highly-processed, nutritionless foods, it’s hard to be sure you’re getting access to the countless micronutrients available from the wide variety foods available to us. Americans in particular are eating more and more calories, while obtaining fewer and fewer nutrients.
Eating a diet of mainly whole, raw foods helps, but even our fruits and vegetables have depleted nutrients due to lost soil fertility, poor agricultural practices, and selective breeding for shelf life rather than nutrition. Organic is better, but even industrially-produced organic foods may be nutritionally lacking.
Luckily, nature provides foods like noni, which act as a broad-based supplement and preventative against the symptoms of our western diets: inflammation, diabetes, excessive free radicals, exhaustion, depression, upset stomach...the list goes on.
The whole noni fruit is so potent because it’s packed with over 165 beneficial compounds, including vitamins, minerals, 17 out of 20 essential amino acids, countless beneficial enzymes, and many others. Here are four of the compounds in noni that have the biggest impact on health, including a few you may not have heard of!
This compound is a phytochemical, which means it’s a biologically active compound in a plant. Scopoletin is found in the roots of plants of the genus Scopolia, including chicory and stinging nettle. But it’s also found in the pulp of raw noni fruit!
In many studies, scopoletin has made a name for itself as a potent painkiller. One study published in Phytotherapy Research (24:38-42) by researchers from the University Clinic in Hamburg, Germany, reported that noni fruit’s analgesic activity “reduced the pain sensitivity comparably to the central analgesic drug tramadol.” When extracts of noni fruit puree were applied, the “effect was comparable to hydrocortisone.” The best part — noni fruit has no side effects or known toxic level.
The compound responsible was believed to be scopoletin. Scopoletin is a powerful anti-inflammatory, which may contribute to this ability. To top it off, scopoletin is antibacterial and antifungal. Basically, it’s a healing injury’s best friend.
Scopoletin’s painkiller power may be related to another known effect of the phytochemical: mood elevation. This compound binds with serotonin to keep levels elevated. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, hunger, temperature, and more.
For this reason, scopoletin is being tested as a possible depression treatment. It’s mood-enhancing properties combined with its analgesic (painkilling) powers make Noni a possible quality of life enhancement for people undergoing chemotherapy & radiation treatment.
Noni also contains a wide variety of anthraquinones. Anthraquinones are a type of phenol produced by some plants. Many phenols, including a number of anthraquinones, have shown evidence of being beneficial for human health.
Some of the anthraquinones in noni are antibacterial agents, able to help protect injuries from infection. Others fight enzymes that break down collagen in the body, which may slow down the aging process. Many anthraquinones also help regulate smooth digestion.
The anthraquinone most of interest to noni researchers is called damnacanthal, which likely helps protect plants from UV damage and parasites.
Damnacanthal has been shown to stimulate T cells, which may help fight cancerous and precancerous cells. In particular, it seems to be effective against Lewis lung carcinoma. Go to pubmed.gov and look up “damnacanthal noni” if you want to learn the specifics.
There is also evidence that damnacanthal prevents and kills parasites!
Dietary Fiber: Soluble & Insoluble
Fiber, of both the soluble and insoluble varieties, is critical for good health. Noni has both in abundance, but only if you preserve the raw pulp. Noni juice contains very little fiber, whereas Noni Fruit Leather is a very rich source.
Soluble fiber turns into a gel during digestion by absorbing water. This process slows digestion, ensuring maximal nutritional absorption and good elimination. But soluble fiber is also crucial for regulating weight and blood sugar levels.
Insoluble fiber doesn’t absorb water or break down much during digestion. It remains more or less intact, and this is what makes it so valuable for colon health. It’s especially good at reducing risk of hemmorhoids.
But the fact is, you need both soluble and insoluble fiber for optimum health. Luckily, noni fruit, including Noni Fruit Leather is a great source of both kinds of dietary fiber. But don’t go for the noni juice — that’s missing the pulp with all the good stuff!