Goji berries offer a host of benefits that aid in multiple aspects of health. These include nutrient supply, immunity, weight management, digestion, energy, and detoxification. Due to benefits like this, traditional Chinese medicine has recognized goji berries for their medicinal qualities for over 2,000 years.
Often compared to the size of cranberries and having the taste of cherries, goji berries can be mistaken for raisins when dried. The main difference however, is a brighter pink coloration and sweetish-tart taste. These berries are special because in addition to a rich supply of fiber, minerals, and vitamins, they also supply antioxidants, amino acids, and fatty acids.
Few other fruits offer antioxidants, such as blueberries and pomegranates, but those fruits are not always easy to add to meals and thus are often just eaten as a snack. However, goji berries can be consumed raw, dried, liquefied, or powdered making them that much easier to be incorporated into ones diet. So, here are some amazing health benefits you can expect from adding these super berries to your diet:
More Energy and Better Mood
Research reveals that goji berries boost energy levels and improve individuals’ mood thanks to a high supply of fiber. This enhanced sense of well-being also leads to better digestion and gastrointestinal mobility. These combined effects make goji berries an ideal super-food for people striving to lose weight, feel full longer, and maintain the energy necessary to stay active.
The high levels of antioxidants found in goji berries, specifically vitamin A and vitamin C, support immunity and help the body fight off disease. This includes acute conditions, like the cold or flu, or more chronic conditions, like cancer. In fact, some studies show that these berries increase the effectiveness of flu vaccination and prevent future infections in older individuals.
Balanced Blood Sugar
The carbohydrate content that can be found is actually made up of complex carbs. Complex carbs specialize in helping to control the release of sugar into blood circulation. This activity prevents dramatic changes in blood sugar levels and makes the body’s cells more sensitive to insulin. Accordingly, goji berries serve as a healthy option for diabetics who are in need of a snack or natural sweetener for their food.
The super-food’s high antioxidant supply also generates anti-aging effects. They achieve this by reducing free radicals and inflammation throughout the body while inhibiting tumor growth. Fighting tumors in this way ultimately fights the development of cancer in the skin, brain, liver, reproductive organs, and gastrointestinal tract.
Goji berries are a staple ingredient for cleansing the liver as well as alleviating kidney conditions such as kidney stones. These effects on the liver and kidneys ultimately detoxify the blood thereby optimizing the body’s strength and vitality.
Beta-carotene found in goji berries promotes healthy skin. Additional antioxidants protect the skin from sun damage by limiting free radical activity. This makes for a natural treatment for skin cancer as well as an excellent form of protection for people particularly sensitive to sun exposure and skin conditions.
Lower Risk of Eye Disease
The high level of zeaxanthin and other antioxidants in these berries protect vision and overall eye health from UV light exposure and oxidative stress. This effect lowers individuals’ risk of eye diseases which can lead to blindness. Goji berries have also demonstrated the ability to treat glaucoma which is the second leading cause of blindness.
In addition to antioxidants, goji berries contain many essential vitamins and minerals that rival the supply found in other fruits or vegetables. For instance, this super-food provides more iron than soybeans or spinach and more beta-carotene than carrots. With around 4 grams of protein and 18 amino acids, goji berries are also a significant source of protein.
Ancient Chinese medicine believed these berries increase the count and quality of sperm. Meanwhile, modern day research has determined that goji berries can reverse female infertility by promoting normal ovulation following premature ovarian failure. The findings of one particular study added that goji berries increase testosterone levels and may reverse erectile dysfunction. Other benefits are improved mood and reducing inflammation to naturally increase fertility.
More Information You Should Know About Goji Berries
In addition to its scientific name, goji berries are sometimes called wolf berries or red diamonds. A few years ago, goji berries were officially classified as a “functional food” for their potent antioxidant activity.
Functional foods are foods you consume in your diet that not only provide nutrients for energy, but also regulate the activities of one or more biological processes in the body. That regulation ultimately supports body responses and fights inflammation and disease.
Some nutrients found in goji berries consists of the following:
- Amino acids (Including 11 Essential)
- Vitamin A
- Unsaturated fatty acids
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin C
Other parts of these berries’ parent plant are used for their health benefits too. This goes for its seed, root bark, leaves, and flowers. Chinese culture incorporates goji berries into its diet on a daily basis. For example, the Chinese use them in juices, wines, teas, almond jelly, soups, wild yams, and licorice root. It is not uncommon to also find goji berries prepared with vegetables and meats, such as chicken, turkey, or pork.
Some Special Ways to Eat Goji Berries…
- Raw or soaked in hot water to make them juicier
- Blended into smoothies
- Added as a topping to cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, or salad
- Inside baked goods for breakfast or dessert
- As a touch of sweetness in dinner sauces
- On top of vegetables for a pop of color
A Word of Caution for Goji Berries Consumption
As good as goji berries are for your health, you should avoid consuming them excessively. People on blood thinners or medication for treating diabetes may experience adverse effects from eating goji berries. Like other fruits, they do contain sugar which may cause problems for individuals with blood sugar balance issues.
Anyone living with low or high blood pressure should limit their intake of goji berries. And women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid eating goji berries all together. Fortunately, goji berries are not a common allergen; but, individuals who are allergic to other fruits should consult their physician before eating goji berries.
Axe, J. (2018). Goji berry benefits: Antioxidant & anti-inflammatory superfruit. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/goji-berry-benefits/
Carey, E. & Gotter, A. (2016, September). 8 healthy facts about the goji berry. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/goji-berry-facts#health-benefits
Donno, D., Beccaro, G. L., Mellano, M.G.,…& Bounous, G. (2015). Goji berry fruit (Lycium spp.): Antioxidant compound fingerprint and bioactivity evaluation. Journal of Functional Foods, 18(B): 1070-1085. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2014.05.020
Jeszka-Skowron, M., Zgola-Grzeskowiak, A., Stanisz, E., & Waskiewicz, A. (2017). Potential health benefits and quality of dried fruits: Goji fruits, cranberries and raisins. Food Chemistry, 221: 228-236. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.10.049
Mercola, J. (2018). What are the benefits of goji berry? Retrieved from https://foodfacts.mercola.com/goji-berry.html