Also known as the wolfberry, the goji berry is a native shrub in China characterized by a bright orange-red color. For generations, it has been widely consumed in Asia in the hopes that it would give people longer and healthier lives.
Goji berries have been recognized by many people as a treatment for various health conditions such as age-related eye problems, fever, high blood pressure, and diabetes. They can be dried, cooked or eaten raw and are used in medicines, wines, juices, and herbal teas.
Research has shown that goji berry juice can positively affect human health in many different ways. Among the most recognized benefits is better sleep quality, enhanced athletic performance and a feeling of calmness and well being. Here’s a closer look at some of the best things that goji berries can provide to human health.
Rich in healthy antioxidants like zeaxanthin, goji berries can improve vision and protect against diseases related to the eyes. They also prevent damage from factors such as oxidative stress, free radicals, and UV light.
Research published in the “Optometry and Vision Science” journal showed that 90-day drinking of goji berry juice significantly improved antioxidant levels in seniors. In a study published in “Drug Design, Development and Therapy” journal, goji berries prevented the onset of ganglion cells in the retina.
Boosts the Immune System
Rich in healthy antioxidants, goji berries can prevent inflammation and harmful free radicals. They have immune-boosting qualities similar to that of raspberries and blueberries. They can be a very good source of vitamins C and A. With strong immunity, the body can prevent all types of sickness ranging from cancer to common colds.
Thanks to the high antioxidant levels, goji berries can prevent the onset of cancer cells. Carotenoids, zeaxanthin and vitamin C are just a few of the many antioxidants found in these healthy berries. They can help remove harmful body substances, reduce inflammation and inhibit the growth of tumors. Studies have also shown how goji berries have improved the efficacy of cancer drugs.
Enhances Skin Health
Goji berries are an excellent source of beta-carotene. This essential phytochemical is recognized for its capacity to improve skin health. Skin creams contain beta-carotene to counter the effect of aging, manage the sun’s effects, relieve skin irritation and promote healthy skin. In a small study, goji juice has shown promise to fight against skin disorders and damage from UV light.
Controls Blood Sugar
Studies have found the ability of goji berries to stabilize the blood’s glucose and insulin levels. This support claims that the berries can help control the sugar’s release into the blood. Goji berries also increased the levels of HDL in type 2 diabetes patients.
Enhances Sleep, Anxiety, and Depression
In 2016, a study was conducted to establish the link between goji berries and improved anxiety-like behaviors.
In another research, goji berry juice consumption was found to boost mood, energy and digestive health in humans. Here, the researchers assessed key data including cardiovascular complaints, musculoskeletal symptoms, psychological health and feelings of wellbeing. Also monitored were the subjects’ vision, pulse, weight, body mass, and blood pressure. In the end, participants who consumed goji berry juice reported better feelings of contentment, mental acuity, athletic performance, ability to focus and energy. Sleep quality also improved in those who drank goji berry juice.
Fights Liver Damage
In traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries are used as a treatment for liver disease. In some studies, these berries have been found to stop the alcohol-induced fatty liver disease from progressing. According to more advanced research, goji berries have stopped the growth of tumors in the human liver.
Potentially Aids in Weight Loss
Packed with food energy, small servings of goji berries can help people keep track of their healthy diet. They can be snacked on to prevent overeating during meals. Use them like raisins to add flavor to salads or yogurts. Because of their low-sugar and low-calorie content, they are the ideal alternative to high-sugar dried fruits.
Key Components of Goji Berries
Goji berries are made up of different phytochemicals from plants including zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and polysaccharides. These chemical compounds are the main reason why these berries are considered a superfood.
Goji berries are rich in polysaccharides, which are an important source of dietary fiber. According to research, polysaccharides can help boost the body’s total antioxidant activity and enhance immune function.
The orange-red color pigment is caused by the beta-carotene. This chemical compound is important in key body processes such as cell development, skin health, bone health, and eye health. Among the many edible plants, goji berries are among those with the highest amount of beta-carotene.
Zeaxanthin has an important role in boosting the immune system. According to research, this chemical compound can inhibit macular degeneration. This progressive disease affecting the vision takes place with the deterioration of the macula.
Creative Ways to Add Them to Your Diet
To enjoy the rich nutritional content, here are some ways to easily add dry or fresh goji berries to your diet. Goji berries are great to add in sweet sauces, desserts, baked goods, salads, yogurt, oatmeal, trail mixes, and smoothies.
Goji berries can also be eaten as snacks. They are easy to bring and snack on anywhere. You can easily buy them online or in health food stores. They may be expensive, but the health benefits are worth it.
What Not to Consume with Goji Berries?
Because of possible interaction with certain medications, goji berries are not recommended for people who are taking diabetes drugs, blood pressure drugs, and blood thinners. When using these drugs, be sure to consult your doctor first before eating goji berries. They may also cause allergies to some individuals and should be consumed in moderation.
Alternative Foods with Same Nutritional Value
There are some other foods to consider when looking for the same nutritional value as goji berries. Less expensive options include green tea, oily fish and pomegranate juice. Wheatgrass is a cheaper option for those who want to maintain their weight. Also with the same nutritional value but with much lower costs are dark leafy greens, tropical fruits, and bell peppers. Blueberries and strawberries are also great alternatives to consider.