There’s plenty of exotic fruits coming from Asia that have many health-boosting benefits and Noni juice is one of them.
You might have never heard of this weirdly looking fruit and I don’t blame you. Noni is one of those fruits that are very well-known in their native lands, unlike anywhere else in the world. Nevertheless, it’s worth considering adding Noni juice to your diet as it can provide some significant health benefits.
So, without further ado, let’s find out what Noni fruit is all about.
What is Noni
Noni fruit, often called Indian Mulberry, is a fruit of the Morinda citrifolia tree that’s native to South-east Asia and Australia. Polynesians used the fruit and its juice as a medicine for all kinds of health issues, some of them backed by science while others not so much. It’s usually been used as a famine crop rather than a staple of the diet, though. Let me explain why.
When ripe, noni fruit is yellow-green and has a lumpy shape, but the thing that’s special about it is the smell and taste. Well, let’s just say that smell and taste are VERY specific. Noni fruit is often called cheese fruit and sometimes even… wait for it… vomit fruit. That’s because of how bad it tastes and smells when ripe. This incredibly unpleasant aroma might be the effect of a ketone found in Noni fruit called 2-heptanone. This is the compound that partially gives blue cheese its distinctive smell and taste. While it might not be as bad in cheese, noni fruit takes it to a whole new level. That’s why very few people are content with eating the fruit rather than opting for a juice instead.
If I didn’t scare you away from even trying it for yourself, let’s dive into what benefits the awful-smelling Noni fruit can offer.
Proven benefits of noni juice
There’s a ton of claims about the health benefits of noni. Unfortunately, like with many eastern remedies, these claims can be either blown out of proportion or simply not true. It’s especially prevalent in the case of some noni juice sellers. They will go through great lengths to convince you to buy their often watered-down and filled with sugar noni juice. That’s why it’s so important to do the research before buying any overpriced “miracle” drinks, not just in the case of noni juice but any other remedies found on the internet.
Having said that, noni juice has some great benefits that have been proven by research and can make a lot of difference in your life.
1. Supports cellular and heart health in smokers
Tobacco smoke is responsible for huge amounts of free radicals created in our bodies, and it’s pretty much the last thing we need when trying to slow aging and stay healthy.
These small molecules are the main reason for oxidative stress in the body and can lead to all kinds of health issues. Not only that, free radicals will age your skin much faster, leading to wrinkles – something no one really wants. Have you noticed that heavy smokers often look WAY older than they are? That’s what oxidative stress does to our bodies.
There was a study where smokers were given 118 ml (4 ounces) of noni juice daily. After just a month they reduced the number of free radicals by 30%, which is HUGE. Especially for tobacco users who pretty much drown in free radicals.
To make it even more compelling for smokers to start drinking Noni juice, the levels of cancer-causing chemicals in heavy smokers was reduced by roughly 45%. If you’re worried about cancer but find it too difficult to quit smoking, it’s definitely worth giving noni juice a shot.
2. Improves endurance during exercise and recovery
Native Polynesians used noni fruit to fight fatigue during long sea voyages – turns out they were onto something.
Long-distance athletes who were given 100 ml of noni juice for 3 weeks experienced a 21% longer time without fatigue. This is huge if you’re trying to get the edge on the competition, especially in grueling races like 100K runs.
This effect is usually associated with a huge amount of antioxidants found in noni fruit which can reduce muscle damage during long training sessions.
As a long-distance runner, I’ve obviously had to try it for myself. I’ve got a few bottles of Noni juice and decided to drink it daily for the next 30 days in preparation for Garmin Ultra Race.
The results? I went from running 60km a week on average to 70km a week without changing anything else. My legs definitely feel less fatigued, so I’m pretty confident Noni juice does its job in this regard.
Oh, and strangely enough, I got rid of a chronic shin splint pain in my right leg. I have no idea if Noni had anything to do with it. Just wanted to mention it.
3. Helps with arthritis pain
Noni has some impressive anti-inflammatory properties, mostly thanks to its high content of phytonutrients. That’s great news for anyone suffering from arthritis.
Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of joints and can lead to serious pain, especially as we age. What does it all have to do with Noni? Well, arthritis pain is mostly caused by inflammation and oxidative stress – two things that Noni is quite good at reducing.
Several studies are proving the pain-reducing effect of Noni, one of which is this one from 2011. It shows some VERY impressive quality-of-life changes after 3 months of drinking small amounts (3 oz – 90 ml) Noni juice. The reduction of arthritis pain was huge and led to improvements in overall mobility.
If you’re someone who suffers from arthritis pain, I highly recommend trying it for yourself. Worst case scenario you will end up a healthier person from all the nutrients. You really can’t go wrong with healthy nutrients!
4. Has tons of antioxidants
Like with many exotic fruits, noni’s most health benefits come from its very high amounts of antioxidants.
One of the most potent antioxidants found in Noni is vitamin C. With just 100 ml of Noni juice you end up with 33% of RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) of this powerful vitamin. Noni is also rich in compounds like scopoletin and epicatechin, which have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Since so many health issues are caused by inflammation and oxidative stress, it’s no wonder Noni turns out to be so beneficial.
Noni juice benefits that need more scrutiny
Unfortunately, Noni juice gets a lot of bad rap due to shady sellers that overblow the benefits and share unproven, or even false claims. It all started with a chemist named Ralph Heinicke and his supposed discovery of a chemical found in noni – xeronine.
Heinicke claimed that xeronine can enter the cells of the body and heal it from the inside. He never referenced his sources, though, and xeronine still remains a mystery to science.
This was when the noni craze started, and many amazing health benefits were attributed to this inconspicuous fruit. Here are some of the most common ones:
- lowers cholesterol
- helps with diabetes
- cures constipation
- protects liver
- boosts metabolism to burn fat
- treats scalp irritation
- prevents cancer
These are just a few of the many health benefits of Noni that are not proven by research. Having said that, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are false. There’s still a lot of research to be made about the benefits of noni juice, but you’ve got to be aware that many shady sellers will say anything to convince you to buy their product.
Can you overdo drinking noni juice?
Back in the day, claims were going around regarding noni juice being toxic to the liver. Yes, there were some cases of individuals damaging their livers after drinking noni juice. The European Food Safety Authority (ESFA) looked into this issue and concluded that it wasn’t noni alone that caused the liver toxicity. A few years forward, in 2009, EFSA confirmed the safety of noni juice. They reported that some people may simply be more sensitive to liver toxicity effects.
The safe amount of noni juice daily seems to be up to 750 ml. That’s WAY more than any sane person would drink, especially considering the smell and taste of Noni.
The second issue of noni juice, though, is real and proven – and it comes in form of possible hyperkalemia.
Noni is naturally very rich in potassium, which can cause problems for some people. If you’re prone to hyperkalemia it’s best to avoid Noni altogether.
How much noni juice is enough to reap the benefits
As mentioned earlier, the safe dose of noni juice is considered to be 750 ml a day, which by no means is necessary to enjoy its benefits.
Many studies showed noni juice to be beneficial with just 30 ml a day, so it can be a good starting point. Once you see how your body reacts, you can increase it to 60 ml a day. This amount is enough to reap all the benefits of noni juice.
Some studies, like this one, for example, use higher dosages (100-120 ml a day) but they don’t claim it to be necessary.
Is it worth eating the noni fruit instead of juice?
Unless you live in south-east Asia or some other place where the noni plant is common, you probably won’t find the fruit anywhere on the market.
Even if you did, the smell and taste of Noni fruit is not something many people would enjoy, let’s be real. It’s much more convenient to simply buy the juice and add it to your diet that way.
Nonetheless, if you ever find yourself in a place where they offer fresh noni fruit, I highly recommend trying it out. Not to enjoy it, of course! Simply out of curiosity, since I’m sure it’s going to be a great conversation starter!
“Yeah, durian is awful, but have you ever tried Noni fruit?”
Beware of low-quality noni juices
If you decide to give Noni juice a try, you’ve got to keep one in mind – there’s A LOT of sh*tty juices out there.
Because of the bitter taste, many (if not most) sellers add a ton of additives to the juice. Watering it down, adding ridiculous amounts of sugar – you name it. It’s all a part of the market and is the reason why Noni juice is considered a scam by many. I agree, most retailers are trying to scam you by selling a subpar product that’s far from the real Noni juice.
I’ve fallen victim to this myself a few years ago. I decided to try a different brand of Noni juice because the current one was difficult to drink due to the taste (yeah, I didn’t know back then that it’s supposed to be that way). I won’t name the brand, but holy shit the juice I’ve got was the biggest scam I fell for in a long time. The juice was very sweet and clearly watered down. The literal waste of money. I’m never making the same mistake again.
Most of the research I’ve linked earlier was done using Noni juice from a company called Morinda. If you decide on trying Noni juice for yourself, I highly recommend going with this brand. It’s one of the only brands out there that actually sells a good-quality juice without adding all kinds of additives to it.
Noni suffers from a lack of published research and money-hungry, shady sellers with low-quality products, which is a shame. This exotic, smelly fruit has a great potential to become a staple of a healthy lifestyle once it’s researched more. Having said that, it’s very much worth drinking Noni juice daily for its proven health benefits.