Incredible Goji berry benefits you probably didn’t know about
Benefits of Goji berries
Legends has it that monks in the Himalayan Mountain ate goji berries steeped in hot water to obtain greater vitality, health longevity, energy and stamina.
Over the years, research have proven goji berry benefits. Not only are they a good source of fiber, they are high in antioxidant, fat free, low in calories, and have the ability to help fight free radicals that cause disease. If you are struggling with your weight, then goji berries can help as they facilitate better digestion.
Eaten raw, liquid or (more commonly) dried, goji berries are certainly versatile. Known to health experts as the “superfood berries“, this fruit is packed with phytonutrients, vitamins and trace minerals.
If you want to add these fruits to your diet, but first want to know the benefits of goji berries – read on to find out more.
What is the Goji Berry?
Goji berries Latin name is barbarum, they belong to the same family as potatoes, eggplants tomatoes and chili peppers. The taste of a goji berry is described as both sweet and tangy and sometimes a little herbal.
Native to China, goji berry plants are grown in both the northern and southern regions. The two main types of goji berry plants are L. barbarum, which is grown in north China, and L. chinense grown in the south. However, it should be noted, that the goji berry type which has all the properties shown in research is the L. barbarum variety.
Medicinally goji berries have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) since 200 B.C. Aside from the goji berry fruit, the flower, leaf, root and seed are also used for their health benefits.
If you are someone who seems to always get a bout of flu when it gets colder, then goji berries may be able to help. These berries help boost the immune system which goes hand in hand with flu protection.
Another reasons goji berries is so good for the immune system is because they contain a good amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants are renowned for their ability to strengthen the immune system and fight harmful free radicals and inflammation.
Goji berries also have a large amount of vitamins A and C. If you want to build up your immune system, then these are definitely the vitamins you want in your arsenal.
Goji berry and stress
When you are stressed the first thing that happens is that your focus goes, sleep quality diminishes, along with feelings of anxiety. While there is no claim that goji berries will miraculously make your stress symptoms disappear, they can help immensely.
In fact, according a study published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, goji berries can lead to “increased ratings for energy levels, athletic performance, quality of sleep, ease of awakening, ability to focus on activities, mental acuity, calmness, feelings of health, contentment, and happiness and significantly reduced fatigue and stress.”
Potential weight loss aid
Low in sugar and calories, goji berries are a great alternative to other dried fruit. A small serving is packed with healthy energy and a high-fiber content to boot.
The low glycemic index in goji berries can also help you keep you on track with your health eating. Foods with a low GI reduce food cravings and satisfy hunger fast. So grab a handful of these berries when you feel the need to indulge. They can also be added to yogurts and salads as a healthier (low sugar) substitute to raisins.
Goji berries antioxidant value
Goji berries have a very high ORAC score, (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of 3,290. An ORAC score essentially means the amount of antioxidants in certain foods.
The ORAC score of goji berries is higher than the scores of apples (2,828) and bananas (795), but slightly less than raspberries (5,065) (9) and blackberries (4,669).
The reason antioxidants are so important is because they stop cells breaking down. This can happen when cells are exposed to elements such as radiation and smoke, something that most people encounter when they walk outside their door everyday.
A large amount of antioxidants in goji berries also protect the body from high levels of inflammation, which reducing oxidative stress in the cells.
Goji berries for eyes
Research has shown that goji berries have a large amount of zeaxanthin. Just in case your wondering, this is the same antioxidant that gives goji berries, bell peppers, saffron, their vivid color. It also protects the eyes from age-related conditions such as macular degeneration, which is the primary cause of blindness in the elderly.
Studies also show that within 3 months of supplementing their daily diet with goji berries, older adults had less hypopigmentation and less drusen, or yellow deposits in their eyes.
Goji berries protect the eyes and eyesight from age-related diseases such as macular degeneration, the main cause of blindness in the elderly. Studies show how these small red berries protect the retina by acting as a natural treatment for glaucoma (1)
Goji berries are well known for their benefits in fertility. Research reveal that in rats goji berries significantly:
improved sperm quantity and movement
improved sexual ability
Increased testosterone levels
It’s suggested that goji berries could also be an alternative prescriptions for erectile dysfunction (like Viagra).
Maintain blood sugar
If you happen to have a sweet tooth, goji berries may become your new best food friend. Aside from containing more fatty acids and amino acids than any other berry, they also help to:
improve sugar tolerance
potentially lower blood sugar
prevent insulin resistance
Help control the release of sugar into the bloodstream, preventing spikes and drops and balancing glucose levels
Stop blood sugar spikes and drops, and maintain balance
Help cells recover and produce insulin
Within a healthy diet, Goji berries are a natural remedy for people with diabetes and help to increase insulin sensitivity. They are also a great option for anyone having difficulty balancing blood glucose levels.
However, it is best to speak to your doctor before adding goji berries to your diet. This is particularly important if you happen to on medications to manage blood sugar. If you do begin eating them, try and check your blood sugar more often.
Goji berries and cholesterol
Goji berries have a high content of beta sitosterol , a substance that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent within the fruit. This is from the plant sterol family and is similar to cholesterol.
Sitosterol has been shown to protect against heart and coronary heart disease, as well as regulating cholesterol levels and keep triglycerides at a ideal balance.
Goji berries and liver
In July 2010 the Journal of Ethnopharmacology published research showing that goji berry juice helped to protect the liver oxidation. They exposed liver cells to toxins and then treated this with goji berry extract. Afterwards, the cells were tested and were found to have fewer free radicals (the molecules that cause cells damage) than the untreated cells.
It is this research, and a study published in BioMed Research International, that provided evidence that Lycium barbarum berries could play a protective role against liver cancer.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine goji berries are used to cleanse the liver and blood. The fruit is often combined with herbs such as ganoderma, licorice, gynostemma and pentaphylla in many liver cleansing treatments .
Goji berries nutrition
So now you know the benefits of goji berries, knowing the nutritional value of goji berries would be useful too, particularly if your diet is lacking in some essential nutrients.
Goji berries contain:
A small but important source of fatty acids : Omega 6 (linoleic acid) and Omega 3 (alpha-linolenic)
Fat-soluble vitamins: E, A and drosolubili : C (500 times more than oranges)
beta carotene, more than carrots, which promotes healthy skin.
The synergy between vitamins A, E and C has a very effective antioxidant effect.
carotenoids such as zeaxanthin and vitamin C precursors
How are Goji berries used?
Goji berries are usually found dried , they also come in a juice form or mixed with other berries for a power packed antioxidant boost.
Thew question I hear a lot concerning goji berries is: How many goji berries should you eat in one day? The best amount is between 1 to 2 tablespoons a day, taking care to rinse them and soak them in water first to rehydrate them.
They go very well with hot fruit, as ingredients of raw food sweets , a healthy desert, on vegetables, blended in the Smart Cappuccino , added in tea or on a cracker with cream cheese and chia seeds.