Health Benefits of Goji Berries

By Irina Bright.

This article is part of our Health & Foods section

dried goji berries Goji Berries.

Goji berry (or wolfberry, of Lycium genus) is a Chinese fruit which has been almost a staple food in China for centuries, and has recently gained international popularity thanks to its attributed health-enhancing benefits.

Chinese people believe that goji berries extend longevity and improve energy levels. They usually add gojis to soups, other dishes or boil them as tea in combination with other flowers. In traditional Chinese medicine goji berries are prescribed to cleanse the liver and treat kidney and eye conditions. (Ref. 1)

Goji berries contain an astounding variety of life-supporting nutrients: vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, amino acids and fatty acids and a whole number of valuable phytochemicals. That is why we refer to them as super-fruits. (Ref. 2, 3 and 4)

Gojis are well known for their potent anti-oxidant action. (Ref. 4)

Their outstanding antioxidants include a number of powerful enzymes: superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx); plus other important antioxidants such as beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, to name just a few. (Ref. 4 and 3)

Goji berry is considered to be one of the richest sources of vitamin C and zeaxanthin.

We know that the work of common antioxidants (ex. vitamin C) is associated with strong anti-ageing effects on our bodies.

But many other compounds found in gojis can also be beneficial for dealing with chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer and nervous system disorders, as well as for treating infections. (Ref. 5, 6, 7 and 8)

Gojis contain 18 amino acids, and their protein makes up at least 10% of their total dried weight. (Ref. 2 and 3)

Proteins are the building blocks of our cells. They are absolutely crucial for the healthy functioning of our bodies, and also serve as an important source of energy.

Goji berries are extremely rich in polysaccharides which make up approximately 40% of their content by dry mass. (Ref. 9)

Polysaccharides are our bodies' preferred sources of energy. They stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the intestinal tract. In doing so, they strengthen the immune system, increase our energy levels and improve our general well-being.

Gojis also contain, among many other nutrients, an ever-so important element iron. (Ref. 3) The lack of iron has been implicated in causing anaemia and a variety of other conditions.

Goji berries are well-known adaptogens - they help our bodies to adapt to external stress and bring them back to their normal, balanced state. (Ref. 10)

Among other things, gojis can be consumed as part of a weight-loss diet, and even for protection of skin from sun damage.

They can serve as a healthy, nutritious and filling snack. Try them during your work breaks or to give you that extra boost in physically-demanding times.

Eating a berry-rich diet is a great thing in the first place. And eating a variety of different berries is even better.

Goji berries are just another healthy alternative for you to include in your everyday food choices.

Written by:     Irina Bright
Original publication date:     2013
Updates:     2020
Republication date:     2020


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