by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Not many people have heard of a goji berry, but it’s becoming more and more popular every day. It’s somewhat new to the western world but has been consumed in Asia for years. Recently, it has become known as an antioxidant and a healthy fruit that helps prevent conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, among others.
Goji berries are considered a superfood as they are high in vitamins A and C, antioxidants, and essential amino acids. This berry contains complex carbs and offers a major boost to the immune system, improving the normal growth of tissues, and healing cell damage caused due to free radicals.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before changing your nutrition plan or adding any supplements to your regimen.
What Exactly is a Goji Berry?
Goji berry, also known as wolfberry, is a vibrant orange or red berry and has a sweet and somewhat sour taste. These berries are native to China, Tibetan Himalayas, and Mongolia. They have been used in traditional Chinese medication for several years.
Goji berries are primarily found in dried forms because, by the time they are distributed around the world, they may lose their freshness.
The goji berry is packed with nutrients that can benefit your health. Goji berries are high in antioxidants called carotenoids, which can protect cells from damage. They may also help boost your immune system and improve blood sugar management.
The Health Benefits of Goji Berry
Goji berries are one of the most potent superfoods in the world. They are packed with antioxidants, protein, vitamins, and minerals that have been shown to boost health in a number of ways.
The benefits of goji berries include:
1. Improves eyesight
Goji berries can improve eyesight and are believed to protect against age-related eye issues. These berries can help vision as they contain high levels of antioxidants, mostly zeaxanthin and lutein. These compounds filter out damaging blue light from the sun and artificial light sources, which can damage the retina at the back of the eye.
According to a study, it was reported that seniors who consumed goji berry juice for more than three months increased zeaxanthin and other antioxidant levels considerably.
Another study shows goji berries can protect the retina against the ganglion cells, which causes glaucoma, a condition that can lead to vision loss.
2. Supports immune function
The powerful antioxidant properties of goji berry, along with polysaccharides, help to improve immune function. The goji berry is also an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which are vital in building immunity and blocking illnesses such as the common flu and cold.
A 30-day study of 60 older adults who drank 4 ounces of goji berry juice every day showed increased levels of immune cells and boosted general feelings of well-being.
In a 3-month research study on 150 older adults, goji berry supplements had improved immune function response to an influenza vaccine.
3. Can aid in weight loss
Goji berries are a natural source of antioxidants and have been shown to aid weight loss by improving metabolism and increasing energy levels.
Goji berries have a low glycemic index, which is why drinking goji berry juice or taking supplements can lower cravings for sugary foods and help in weight loss. Reports show that including low-glycemic foods in your diet can speed up weight loss.
4. Good for your skin
Goji berries contain high levels of beta carotene, which is a vitamin A precursor that promotes healthy skin. Goji berries are also packed with antioxidants that help protect your body from free radicals, which are rogue molecules that can damage cells and increase the signs of aging.
One study in mice showed that consuming 5% goji juice provided them with enough antioxidants to protect against skin disorders and UV light damage.
5. Lowers the risk of cancer
You may have heard that antioxidant properties can help prevent cancer. Goji berries are a rich source of antioxidant properties, such as zeaxanthin, vitamin C, and carotenoids, which makes them a popular supplement for anti-tumor treatment. Antioxidants may be able to slow down the growth of tumors in our body, reduce inflammation, and help remove harmful substances from the body.
According to research on mice, it was found that goji berries may prevent tumor growth and improve the effectiveness of cancer treatments.
6. Regulates blood pressure levels
Goji berries are great for those with diabetes. These berries contain polysaccharides that have been found to be effective in lowering blood glucose levels in diabetics.
According to 2015 research, goji berries can help balance insulin and glucose levels in the blood. It also showed a link between goji berries and increased HDL levels (good cholesterol) in people with type 2 diabetes.
7. May boost your mood
If you are going through depression, mood swings, and anxiety issues, you may want to consider trying goji berries. It contains vitamins, manganese, and fiber which can improve your mood and energy levels, reducing stress levels.