Understanding The Pros & Cons Of Pasteurizing Noni Juice
At Hawaiian Ola, we feel honored to share the many healing benefits of Hawaiian noni with the world and will always do our best to ensure that it is prepared thoughtfully and with good intention. Noni is our flagship fruit, the first and main ingredient in both of our products, and is, in many ways, the fruit that originally inspired us to launch Hawaiian Ola. Throughout our journey to fulfill our mission (to expand the demand for organically grown, GMO-free Hawaiian crops) and share noni with the world, we have had to make many difficult decisions along the way, such as whether or not to pasteurize our noni juice.
Why We Pasteurize
Putting Health And Safety First
When making products to share with our ohana, two of our highest considerations will always be health and safety, which is why we take every possible measure to ensure nothing harmful ever ends up in our products. We only source organic because we know pesticides in conventional foods are unsafe. We source GMO-free because we don’t believe untested GMOs belong in our food. And we heed the FDA’s strong recommendation to pasteurize our noni, because it is the best way to ensure Ola is made free of any harmful bacteria or pathogens(1,2).
Sharing Noni With More People
Aside from removing any unwanted bacteria from our noni, two additional benefits to pasteurization are an extended shelf life and the ability ship and store our Noni at room temperature without risk of spoiling. This is important to many consumers for whom the added costs of shipping refrigerated, raw noni are often too much to afford buying it on a regular basis. For these drinkers, pasteurization has made Ola noni easy to enjoy everyday without worry of spoilage or expensive shipping prices.
The Effects Of Pasteurization
Noni’s Beneficial Constituents
One of the things that makes noni (Morinda Citrifolia) such an amazing fruit is that it contains an unusually wide variety of beneficial compounds, some of which are known to offer anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, and cleansing effects. While some of these compounds may be disturbed by pasteurization, fortunately, most of noni’s beneficial constituents are not. In order to understand why, it helps to think of all of noni’s constituents in two categories: stable, which are less likely to degrade in the presence of air, light, and heat, and unstable or volatile constituents, which are more likely to degrade from the same exposure.
Stable & Volatile Compounds
In the stable category, noni contains an abundance of antioxidants such as aucubin, as well as nutritive constituents like iron, fat, protein, riboflavin, thiamin, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Also stable are compounds such as damnacanthal, a novel anthraquinone that is likely responsible for noni’s cleansing or purgative effects, as well as NoniPPT, which has been shown to play a role in noni’s immunomodulatory effects. In the unstable category, compounds such as Eugenol, Scopoletin, and asperuloside are known antiinflammatories that can be categorized as volatile and are more likely to be impacted by the pasteurization process to some degree(3).
Measuring Positive Effects
While the extent to which both stable and unstable constituents in noni are impacted by pasteurization have never been specifically studied, we know that most of noni’s nutritional constituents are stable and that several studies have shown noni, in its pasteurized form, to be potent and effective in several areas related to human wellbeing. Two examples include a 2006 study that showed a protective effect on hepatic injury (protecting the liver from harmful carcinogens) and also a study where pasteurized noni showed positive results for current smokers by protecting those individuals from oxidative damage induced by cigarette smoke(4,5).
Understanding Heat & Health
The positive results we see in the clinical trials using pasteurized noni could have much to do with noni’s high concentration of stable beneficials, however, the results may also have something to do with a health boosting change that takes place in certain fruits and vegetables when they are heated. Cooking breaks down cell walls and in turn increases the abundance and bio-availability of certain compounds, most notably antioxidants.
Cooked tomatoes, for example, release more lycopene, an antioxidant linked to improved mood, heart protection, and even cancer prevention. Similarly, the antioxidants known to protect your eyes against disease, such as lutein found in corn and spinach, also respond to heat during cooking. A 2003 study that compared the carotenoid content — mainly lutein and zeaxanthin — of corn found that when processed with heat, contained more lutein than the raw form. Legumes appear to respond to heat, too. Boiling peanuts has been shown to boost antioxidant concentration by up to 400% that of raw(6).
Health, Happiness, & Noni Juice
For many consumers the question of ideal noni preparation is one of ongoing consideration. In the end, our choice to pasteurize was about health, safety, and making Ola noni affordable and accessible to our ohana everywhere. Along the way we learned that noni is packed with an abundance of stable beneficials, which are not likely to be affected by pasteurization. We also learned that pasteurized noni has been shown to positively support liver and lung health in clinical trials and that the heat from pasteurization may even draw out certain nutritional compounds such as antioxidants by breaking down rigid cell walls.
In the end, the consumer choice of what kind of noni to drink is a personal one. Whether you choose to drink noni raw or pasteurized, our advice is to be safe (source your noni from a provider you trust), support growers who cultivate noni organically (pesticides are bad for everyone), and above all enjoy your juice! The way we see it, noni is a pretty special gift from nature and no matter how you prefer it to be prepared, health and happiness are two things you should always get from your noni.
Mahalo for reading. Post your questions and comments below and if you would like to try a free sample of Hawaiian Ola noni, click here to order.