In China, there is a proverb, “As a last resort to middle-aged people, soak goji berries in a thermos cup”. Means goji berry makes more benefits when people get older. We may find goji berry used in variant scenarios like herbal tea, goji juice, or cooking with goji. So what benefits of goji berry can you get? Is there any side effect? How to make it with the best nutrition? In this article, we will reveal and show you the details.
What Is Goji Berry?
Goji berry, is also called “Lycium barbarum” or “wolfberry”.It is the fruit of either Lycium barbarum or Lycium chinense, two closely related species of boxthorn in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. L. barbarism and L. chinense fruits are similar but can be distinguished by differences in taste and sugar content. Since about 2000, goji berry and derived products became common in developed countries as health foods or alternative medicine remedies, extending from exaggerated and unproven claims about their health benefits.
The goji berry plant has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine about 2000 years ago. In ancient times, many monks were living in the Himalayan Mountains, they used goji berry to help aid meditation and enhance immunity.
10 Tips Of Goji Berry Health Benefits
Before steeping Goji berry in herbal tea or cooking it as a meal, you should be transparent with what benefits can bring to you. Typically, there are 10 major benefits listed below.
- Boost your immune system
- Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory
- Fight Cancer
- Stabilize blood sugar
- Dry eyes
- Help weight loss
- Better Athletic performance
- Promote Skin health level
- Good source of vitamin C
1. Boost Your Immune System
Goji berry may help boost immune function, especially for older adults. There was a study within 60 healthy older adults and found that taking 3.4 oz. (100 ml) of concentrated goji berry juice daily for 30 days led to improved immune function. Furthermore, it also boosts lymphocytes, white blood cells which protect the body from harmful bacteria and viruses attacks. Meanwhile, Goji berry also fights against the flu more effectively. Here is a tip, if you feel cold or get a light flu, you can add some Goji Berry to your daily meal.
Not only humans but also animals also get this benefit, it can help to generate more T-lymphocytes.
Goji berry nutrition facts vary widely depending on the exact type of berry, how fresh they are, and how they’re preserved. Different sources claim that goji berry benefits include varying degrees of nutrients。
Here below is a range of the vitamins, minerals, and another photochemical present in goji berries. According to USDA, every 28 grams of dried Goji Berry has nutrition facts:
Around 100 calories
3 grams fiber
13 grams sugar
4 grams protein
7510 IU vitamin A (about 134 percent DV)
14 milligrams of vitamin C (about 25 percent DV)
12 milligrams iron (about 10 percent DV)
18 amino acids (11 of which are essential)
5 sources of healthy, unsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid
Phytochemicals, including beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lycopene, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and polysaccharides.
3. Antioxidants And Anti-Inflammatory
When we talk about antioxidants, we need to know ORAC – Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC). A higher ORAC score means a higher capability of antioxidants. Normally people need to ingest about 2500 units of ORAC from different vegetables and fruits. For older adults, 5000~6000 units of ORAC ingestion is ideal.
Goji Berry’s score of ORAC is about 3,290. much higher than the scores for bananas (795) and apples (2,828), but slightly less than the scores of blackberries (4,669) and raspberries (5,065).
Kindly notice that the ORAC score is not equal to ORAC units, but it indexes which food has the more antioxidant ability.
One study in healthy elderly people (men and women) and found that the antioxidant zeaxanthin increased 26% after taking a milk-based goji berry drink daily for 90 days and increased overall antioxidant capacity by 57%.
So, here we are clear, regularly consuming concentrated goji berry can boost antioxidant levels in the body.
4. Fight Cancer
In terms of the ORAC score of Goji berry mentioned upon, it is also capable of anti-cancer from antioxidants ability.
Gojis are also reported to have anti-aging properties and show anti-tumor activities against various types of skin cancer cells by inhibiting the progression of cancerous tumor growth and inducing apoptosis speed as well.
Test-tube studies also have shown that goji berry extract hinders the growth of cancer cells, preventing them from spreading and even destroying them.
The potential tumor-inhibiting effects of goji berries are likely due to their ability to boost levels of antioxidants and reduce levels of inflammatory cytokines IL-5 and IL-8 in the blood.
A study in 79 people with advanced cancer found that those who were given immunotherapy plus concentrated goji extract experienced a 25 percent higher rate of cancer regression compared to those who received immunotherapy alone.
Keep in mind that most of these studies used only extracted or concentrated parts of Goji berries, not just goji berries alone.
5. Stabilize Blood Sugar
Goji berry also can help to control the release of sugar contents into the blood system. Especially for diabetes people, goji berries can be a good alternative snack or sugar additives.
Reducing sugar intake and increasing responsiveness to insulin is extremely important for the growing number of diabetes cases in the U.S. and other developed nations today. People may take many methods to control blood sugar levels but ignore the effectiveness of Goji Berry.
One study gave goji berry polysaccharide extract to rats with type 2 diabetes for 4 weeks. Finally, researchers found that blood glucose levels decreased by nearly 35%.
Another study found the same thing. Rats with type 2 diabetes that consumed goji berry extract daily for three weeks had lower blood sugar levels after eating, as well as increased insulin sensitivity.
Similarly, these positive effects on blood sugar control are strongly linked to the antioxidant activity of goji berry extract. Kindly notice that all studies till today are all related to animals, we still have enough evidence to prove the same positive effect on humans.
6. Dry Eyes
In modern daily life, people are stuck in watching electrical devices or cellphone more and more frequently, even more than 12 hours through the day. This leads to significant issues with eye health.
People should know that Goji Berry also has benefits for drying eyes by enhancing the tear volume and meanwhile repairing the damaged ocular surface cells.
One study published in the American Academy of Optometry’s Optometry & Vision Science journal found that drinking goji berry juice daily as a dietary supplement for 90 days increases plasma zeaxanthin and antioxidant levels significantly. This way can protect the eyes from hypopigmentation and accumulation of oxidative stress compounds that can damage the macula.
Other studies show that the goji berry benefits eye health by protecting the retina from ganglion cells, meaning the antioxidant extract can act as a natural treatment for glaucoma.
For older adults, macular degeneration is the major root cause of blindness. Goji berry can protect the eyes and prevent this degeneration and degradation. Also, the benefit comes from Goji’s high level of antioxidants (e.g. zeaxanthin).
7. Help Weight Loss
Goji berry can help weight loss because of higher fiber contents. This is positive for blood sugar control and helps you feel full for a long time(restrain appetite).
One study showed that Goji berry is helpful for healthy metabolism if eaten about 14 grams each day. This can help weight loss and fat burning.
Goji berries also have a low GI (Glycemic Index, indicates your blood sugar levels when you eat any food). Lower GI food is released very slowly into your blood system. So it can help to feel full. You do not feel starved, so you are not willing to eat too much to lead your weight up.
The study showed that when healthy overweight men and women consumed a single 4oz (~120ml) of concentrated goji berry juice, their ability to burn calories after 1 hour was 10% greater than those who didn’t consume the juice.
When participants consumed goji berry juice over 14 days, their waist circumference decreased by an average of 2.0 inches (~4.9cm) compared to the control group.
8. Better Athletic Performance
One study published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine is revealed below.
A. Significant differences between day 1 and day 15 were found in the GoChi(original text, equal to Goji Berry) group (N = 16) in increased ratings for energy level, athletic performance, quality of sleep, ease of awakening, ability to focus on activities, mental acuity, calmness, and feelings of health, contentment, and happiness.
B. These results clearly indicate that daily consumption of GoChi for 14 days increases subjective feelings of general well-being, and improves neurologic/psychologic performance and gastrointestinal functions.
So, Goji could be a good snack and help to increase the rating for energy level, athletic performance, get high quality of sleep, and significantly reduce fatigue and stress.
9. Promote Skin Health Level
Goji berries also have benefits for preloading with beta-carotene (a pigment found in plants and fruits), which helps promote healthy skin and even acts as a natural skin cancer treatment.
In an animal study done by the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney, drinking 5 percent goji berry juice supplied antioxidant activity that offered significant protection against skin disorders and lipid peroxidation of UV light damage.
Two known endogenous skin antioxidants are present in goji berries, heme oxygenase-1, and metallothionein, which were found to be involved in photo-immune protection.
The results show that drinking goji berry juice increases protection against free radical damage from the sun. Gojis provide additional photoprotection for people who are susceptible to skin cancer and other skin disorders.
10. Good Source Of Vitamin C
Like many fruits, goji berries are full of vitamin C, a crucial antioxidant not only for keeping your immune system strong but also for eyesight and heart health. So if you’re getting a little tired or relying on oranges and strawberries, goji berries can help keep you getting that vitamin C, too. Study shows, compare goji berries and oranges weight as vitamin C foods, goji berries provide up to 500 times more vitamin C!
Any Risks Or Side Effects Of Goji Berry ?
People believe that there are side effects when talking about some benefits of the fruit. But for goji berry, the side effects are only stomach ache or allergic reaction if you eat too much.
Like dried fruit, goji berries contain sugar. So anytime you eat, you need to control quantity to make sure your blood sugar is balanced.
Are goji berries bad for you if you’re allergic to other berries? Actually, you do not worry about it unless you have some clear symptoms like tingling, skin rash, itchiness, or other similar allergies. Remember, consult your doctor in advance before you eat goji berry.
How To Make It With The Best Nutrition
From introduction upon, nowhere is the question, how can you reap all their sweet rewards? 2 typical ways blow.
The first way is to make it brew as a tea if you have goji berry as powder. You can add 1 teaspoon (~3-5g) for 150ml hot water and drink it every morning.
The second way is, add dried goji to baked food, cook it into sweet sauces or use it as a garnish for roasted veggies. Here are some recipes for your reference.
1. Chinese Chicken Soup With Dates, Goji Berries And Shiitake Mushrooms.
2. Goji Berry And Red Dates Herbal Tea
3. Chinese Secret Anti-Aging Soup (Wood Ear Mushrooms With Goji Berries)
Where To Buy Goji Berry ?
Goji berries are most easily found in health food stores or supermarkets. To get the freshest, high-quality berries, look for them in either dried packages or sold by weight at specialty bulk food stores. Many packaged, high-quality trail mixes or “superfood” dried mixes also include goji berries, so look for them on ingredient labels. Also, you can buy dried goji from an online shop, here I recommend Buy-China-Tea.com, they always provide dried high-quality Ningxia Goji Berry and black goji which is a special variant.
Within this article, I introduced Goji berry benefits and how to make it. Meanwhile, you are clear about the side effects of goji berry. Brief summarizes,
- Goji berry benefits include boost your immune system, fight cancer,stabilize blood sugar,dry eyes,help weight loss and promote skin health level,etc.
- No side effect unless each too much.Consult to your doctor if you are allergic with clear symptoms,otherwise , no worry about allergies.
- Usually eaten raw, dried, or in liquid or powder form. Versatile goji berries contain a wide range of phytonutrients, vitamins and trace minerals. It is a good resource of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and amino acids.