What Are the Health Benefits of Goji Berries?
Also known as Lycium Barbarum, Goji berries are the tiny fruit that grown in popularity. This special berry is native to Asia, where people have been using this tiny colorful fruit to their benefit for more than 2000 years. Goji berries are now widely available at stores and online for their use as a food supplement and a medicinal herb.
The purported benefits of Goji berries range from immune function support to glucose regulation and amazing anti-aging effects. Many researchers have recently published findings about the tremendous health benefits these berries have to offer.
What are the proven health benefits of goji berries?
Below are listed seven amazing health benefits of goji berries supported by scientific evidences.
1. Protects the eyes
Goji berries are believed to be super-helpful against eye diseases, particularly those that originate from aging. As they contain high levels of antioxidants, they help improve vision and stop the damage from UV light, oxidative stress, and free radicals.
A study in respect of the same showed that people who consumed goji berry juice for 90 days consecutively were found to have increased levels of Zeaxanthin and other oxidants in their bodies.
Another study proved goji berries helpful in protecting the retina against the glaucoma causing ganglion cells. Glaucoma is a condition of visionary loss.
2. Boosts the immune system
Antioxidants are known for their exceptional qualities to prevent inflammation, fight harmful radicals, and boost immune systems. Quite interestingly, goji berries are super-rich in antioxidants!
In addition to antioxidants, these berries are also loaded with Vitamin A and C as with many other berries like raspberries and blueberries. Both of these vitamins build immunity and prevent illnesses, from a minor cold to cancer.
3. Protects against cancer
Goji berries feature high levels of antioxidants, Vitamin C, carotenoids, and zeaxanthin that fight cancer cells. Antioxidants control the growth of tumors, prevent inflammation and rid the body of cancer-causing harmful substances.
Research conducted on mice found that Goji berries control the growth of tumors and enhance the effectiveness of cancer treatments.
4. Promotes healthy skin
Did you know these special berries are full of beta-carotene (an essential plant phytochemical) popularly known for its ability to promote healthy skin!
Pick off any of your favorite skincare product, and you'd find it having beta-carotene for either of the following purposes:
- Improving skin health
- Reducing skin irritation
- Protecting the skin against sun
- Reducing aging impacts
A study in mice revealed that upon consumption of 5% goji berries juice, they had enough antioxidants in their bodies to shield themselves against skin disorders and UV light damage.
5. Stabilizes blood sugar
Interestingly, goji berries are thought to help control the sugar levels in the blood. Research proves that they are effective in balancing the glucose and insulin levels in the blood.
The same research then also proved that consuming these special berries helps increase the HDL levels (good cholesterol) in people having type 2 diabetes.
6. Helps anxiety, depression, and sleep
A research that goes back to 2016 shows that goji berries help improve depression and other stressful behaviors. Another study in the US proved that drinking the juice from these berries has a noticeably positive impact on the health, energy, and mood of humans. This study involved a few healthy adults who drank around 120 ml of goji berry juice daily. They then filled in questionnaires regarding the changes they felt in their feelings, wellness, musculoskeletal symptoms, psychological health, and other cardiovascular and digestive complaints. The group of these people reported a noticeably positive change in their energy levels, ability to focus, calmness, and mental acuity by the 15th day of goji berry juice consumption. They also reported better sleeping patterns, and no negative effect of goji berry juice consumption was highlighted by any of the participants.
7. Protects against liver damage
The Chinese have been using these special berries in their traditional medicines to treat liver diseases for ages. Research on animals indicated that the progression of alcohol-induced fatty liver diseases could be controlled by regular goji berry consumption.
Also, these berries are well known for inhibiting the growth of tumors.
What makes goji berries so beneficial?
Goji berries are often counted on as a superfood for the chemical compounds they contain, which includes phytochemicals. Phytochemicals come from plants and include beta-carotene, polysaccharides, and zeaxanthin. Each of these has amazing benefits for our bodies.
- The lovely amber-red pigment in the berries comes from Beta-carotene; a vital compound for skin health, bone strength, eye health, and cell development. Among all edible plants, goji berries contain the highest amount of beta-carotene;
- Polysaccharides make an essential component of goji berries. As polysaccharides are rich in dietary fiber, they help improve your immune system and enhance the antioxidant activity in your body; and
- Zeaxanthin, as is found in goji berries, plays an important role in boosting the immune system. Many researchers believe that Zeaxanthin in bodies can prevent macular degeneration - a condition of progressive vision damage caused by the deterioration of the central part of the macula or retina.
Adding goji berries to your diet
You can find Goji berries in most of the health and other food stores or Asian and European markets or grow your own! These nutritional berries can be consumed in several ways. For instance, you may add them to either of the following:
- Trail Mixes
- Sweet Sauces
- Baked Goods
Or while you go out, just load these little berries to your pockets and munch on them as a snack. Goji berries are often available fresh or in a dried form added to trail and superfood mixes. You may find them in the form of juice or supplements, too.
Should you consult your doctor before adding goji berries to your diet?
Despite their endless health benefits, Goji berries may react to bodies on some medications, namely as follows:
- diabetes drugs
- blood thinners
- blood pressure medicines
It is recommended that people using any of the above medicines consult their doctors before adding these berries to their regular diet. People who have allergies to other common berries must also add fresh or dry goji berries (either directly or as a supplement) to their diets only after consultation with their doctors.
Besides some rare medical reactions, the benefits of Goji berries are extremely high! Fresh or dry Goji berries won't usually bring any adverse or side effects to healthy people. In fact, Goji berry supplements have been proved safe for consumption with rare side effects among few people, including mild allergies and sensitivity to sunlight.
Using Goji berries moderately is super-beneficial. People considering the consumption of Goji Berry supplements are, however, advised to have their doctors on board for better advice.