Goji berries are the tiny red fruits you see on acai bowls, and they are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Not only do they add a colorful pop to your plate, but they also exhibit a rich flavor that is slightly tart and sweet. Goji berries are native to Asia, where people have consumed and used them in medicinal practices for over 2,000 years. Nowadays, they are widely available in health food stores and online.
An Overview Of Goji Berries
These highly nutritious berries have a vibrant red hue and exhibit a sweet, slightly sour flavor. Certain studies found that they may slow the signs of aging, strengthen the liver, kidneys, and lungs, and maintain eye health. Due to their growing popularity, you can find goji berries on their own, in superfood blends, and alongside other fruits, herbs, and extracts. Additionally, goji berry powder tends to show up in a variety of superfood supplements, and for good reason! Just five tablespoons of dried goji berries contains:
- Calories: 98
- Protein: 4 grams (g)
- Fat: 0.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 21.6 g
- Fiber: 3.6 g
- Sugar: 21.8 g
- Iron: 11% of the daily value (DV)
- Vitamin C: 15% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 501% of the DV
As you can see, a small serving of goji berries is quite nutritious and contains several essential vitamins and minerals. Goji berries also contain antioxidant compounds that work to reduce several markers of oxidative stress. According to research, increasing your antioxidant intake can help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Read on to learn more about the health benefits of goji berries.
May Improve Immune Function
In traditional medicine, goji berries were used to ward off illness and infection because they naturally enhanced immunity. A 30-day study in 60 older adults found that drinking four ounces of goji berry juice per day increased immune cell levels. The participants in the study also experienced an improvement in general well-being. A separate three-month study in 150 older adults found that taking goji berry supplements improved immune response to an influenza vaccine.
May Improve Depression, Anxiety, And Sleep
A human study in the United States found that drinking goji berry juice improved energy levels and worked to balance mood. In this study, healthy adult participants consumed 120 milliliters of goji berry juice daily or a placebo drink for two weeks. Participants completed questionnaires to record their feelings of well-being, neurological and psychological health, and digestive health. Researchers analyzed the data and measured each participant’s blood pressure, body mass, weight, pulse, and vision before and after the study. The group that consumed goji berry juice reported improved energy, better focus, mental acuity, and feelings of calmness after the study. That group also experienced better sleep and mental health.
May Promote Eye Health
As previously stated in the nutritional overview, goji berries have an incredible amount of vitamin A. This nutrient may enhance eye health and protect against macular degeneration, an age-related eye condition that can cause vision loss. A 90-day study in over 150 adults found that supplementing with goji berries helped improve blood antioxidant levels. The goji berries also helped soften fatty protein deposits under the retina and prevented hypo pigmentation of the macula (central area of retina). Goji berries also contain antioxidants like zeaxanthin, which works to protect your lenses and retinas against damage.
May Improve Skin Health
Beta-carotene, a carotenoid in goji berries, is an essential plant compound that works to promote healthy skin. Beta-carotene is a common ingredient in skin creams because it works to manage the effects of sun damage, reduce skin irritation, reduce signs of aging, and improve overall skin health. One animal study observed mice that drank 5% goji juice, which gave them enough antioxidants to protect against UV light damage. More human research is still necessary in this field, though.
May Regulate Blood Sugar
Goji berries may aid in your efforts to regulate blood sugar levels. A 2015 study found that goji berries were able to balance insulin and glucose levels in the blood. That same study linked goji berries to increased HDL (good) cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Increasing your consumption of goji berries may also help alleviate insulin resistance and improve sugar tolerance.
May Detox The Liver
Goji berries, along with traditional herbs like licorice and ganoderma, are commonly in liver cleanses. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), goji berries benefit the liver and kidneys, helping to restore strength and vitality to the person who eats them. According to some sources, this aspect of goji berries also makes them a great natural remedy for kidney stones, but you may want to consult with your doctor about eating them for that purpose first.