You likely know about goji berries, from visiting your local health food store, or your favorite smoothie spot. Goji berries, like so many other antioxidant rich superfoods, benefit overall health and defy the aging process. Goji berries have an even more impressive nutrition profile, low in calories and sugar and loaded with protein and fiber.
What Are Goji Berries
Goji berries, also known as “wolfberries” have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. The reddish-orange berry has a sweet and sour flavor. Goji berries are rich in antioxidants which can alleviate oxidative stress and free radical damage.
Goji Berry Nutrition
Low in calories and low in sugar, goji berries are the perfect substitute for dried fruit such as apricots, or raisins. Goji berries are also a surprisingly high protein snack with 4 grams per 28g serving and high in fiber at 3 grams per serving.
The nutrients in goji berries are included 46% of carbohydrate, 16% of dietary fiber, 13% of protein, and 1.5% of fat, making them an excellent snack for some macronutrients.
Gojis are rich in vitamins, minerals, bioactive phytochemicals, and unlike most plants, amino acids, which is primarily the reason why they are known as a “superfruit”.
Iron 10% DV
Vitamin C 22% DV
Goji Berry Benefits
Considering the bioactive compounds that Goji berries possess, the antioxidants properties can provide immune stimulating and immunomodulating effects as well as anti-inflammatory benefits [R]. Did I mention, they are also packed with bacterial and pathogen fighting vitamin C.
Goji berries contain water-soluble polysaccharides (L. barbarum polysaccharides, LBPs) and are considered to be their most important bioactive compounds [R]. LBPs are composed of glucan, xylan, and arabinogalactan-proteins and account for 5-8% of the dried fruit [R]. They also contain carotenoids and polyphenols which contribute to their antioxidant activity.
Goji have high levels of phenolic compounds including phenolic acids, flavonoids, phenylpropanoids, coumarins, lignans, and their derivatives. Several studies have shown that the phenolic extracts of goji berries exert good in vitro antioxidant activities and antimicrobial effects against some bacteria [R].
Vision Protective Effects
Your eyes may be in luck. Goji berries have been reported to have excellent benefits on eye health and protect against macular degeneration. The mixture of highly branched polysaccharides and proteoglycans in LBPs has been reported to exert ocular neuroprotective effects [R]. They contain a specific carotenoid, called zeaxanthin, which makes up nearly 60% of the carotenoid pool in Goji.
A randomized controlled trial published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science investigated the effects of supplementation with goji berry on macular degeneration plasma zeaxanthin and antioxidant capacity levels in elderly subjects.
The study found that after 90 days of goji berry supplementation, both plasma zeaxanthin level and antioxidant capacity increased significantly in the goji group, by 26% and 57%, respectively, but did not change in the placebo group [R].
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Helps Stabilize Blood Sugar
Adding a bit of zesty goji berry to your diet, could benefit blood sugar levels. Several animal studies have shown that goji berries can significantly reduce blood glucose levels. Researchers have found that goji berry doe exhibit significant hypoglycemic effects in preliminary studies, to help with glucose responsiveness.
Increasing insulin sensitivity with natural remedies could provide a profound impact upon diabetes cases.
A randomized double-blind study found that supplementing 300mg/day of body weight could had a significant lipid-lowering and hyoglycemic effect on patients with type 2 diabetes. The study concluded that goji berry could in fact be a potential therapeutic treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes [R].
Goji Berry Benefits: Takeaway
A healthy aging process requires a diet rich with antioxidants, to help reduce free radical damage and oxidative stress. Studies suggest that oxidative stress is a major contributor to age related disease, in addition to the oxidation of cells, leading to characteristics of aging. Goji berries provide a tremendous amount of benefits on eye health, immune health, and normalizing blood glucose levels, due to the rich phenolic and bioactive compounds. Add a few goji berries to your yogurt, smoothie, or salad and reap the benefits of this powerful superfruit.