Goji berries are often said to be a magical super-food with a ton of health benefits, and these claims actually date back centuries. In ancient times, for example, the berries were used in Asia to treat problems with bad vision, as well as the liver and kidneys. The sour-sweet berries are usually sold dried and packaged, like apricot halves.
If you’re considering adding this immune system booster to your daily regimen, there are some things you need to know before making them a part of your diet.
What’s inside goji berries?
They’re packed with a bunch of nutrients that you need in your diet, like fiber, iron, Vitamins A and C, zinc, and a ton of antioxidants.
And unlike other kinds of fruit, they’re loaded with protein. Just 100 grams, and you’ve consumed ten percent of what you need for the entire day.
Goji berries are also heavy on the kinds of carbs that are good for you. They won’t make your blood sugar go haywire, so you won’t need to worry about your energy levels crashing a few hours after your snack.
Before you pick up goji berries at the store
Talk to your physician beforehand, because goji berries can sometimes have unintended side-effects. This is especially the case if you are taking other supplements or pills, as the berries may not be a good match for them and affect you negatively.
Moreover, there are some people who should exclude the berries from their diets altogether. Don’t try them if any of the following applies to you:
- you have hypoglycemia
- you take anticoagulants
- you have issues with your blood pressure
- you’re pregnant or have recently given birth
- have had an allergic reaction to goji berries before
Also, keep in mind that Just 50 grams of goji berries will give you 3.5 times more Vitamin A than you need for the day. It’s good to limit your consumption, because too much Vitamin A can be harmful and result in nausea, headaches, and even a coma.
Advantages of goji berries
Better immune system and fewer colds
Some studies suggest that goji berries can increase the effectiveness of flu shots. This especially important because flu shots are never a 100% guarantee that you won’t get sick.
Plus, goji berries are good for your immune system generally, which means that you’re less likely to come down with a cold even when everybody else around you is sneezing and coughing away.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that using goji berries as your sole protection against the flu is not a good option. Get shots, and remember to get enough sleep and stay hydrated!
Shed extra pounds
Goji berries make an excellent healthy snack. They may seem small, but they have a ton of fiber and are rich in the kinds of nutrients you need, especially if you’re on a diet. If you have cravings between meals, grab a handful to keep yourself from reaching for chips or other kinds of junk food. You can also add them to salads if you don’t like the taste on its own.
And here’s a health fact: goji berries are actually better for you than other kinds of dried fruit! That’s because they have fewer calories and are extremely low on sugar when compared to dried apricots, for example.
Great for your skin and vision
Goji berries contain a lot of zeaxanthin, which is the same antioxidant that makes the berries look so colorful.
Zeaxanthin is often taken as a supplement because it is believed to protect your eyes from harmful high-energy light waves like ultraviolet rays in sunlight. In general, antioxidants will protect your body’s cells from falling apart when subjected to harmful elements.
Moreover, studies show that regular consumption of goji berries helps reduce yellow eye deposits that can pop up in older adults for all kinds of reasons.
Keep your blood sugar from spiking
If you love dessert, goji berries can serve as a great substitute that will do your body a lot less harm.
This is especially the case for people with hyperglycemia, since goji berries can help lower blood sugar.
They can also boost your body’s glucose tolerance and improve resistance to insulin, as well as restore important cells responsible for the production of insulin.
However, if you have hypoglycemia, consult your physician before loading up on goji berries. And if you’ve recently added them to your diet, check your blood sugar levels every once in awhile to ensure there haven’t been any concerning changes.
Here is another bonus: these wonder berries may even be able to make you more fertile.
Studies have shown that rats who consumed goji berries showed the following improvements:
- higher sperm count
- better sexual ability
- improved recovery of testosterone levels
Perhaps this is why some alternative medicine advocates claim that goji berries can serve as a great alternative to sexual dysfunction drugs like Stendra.
Are goji berries really that good for you?
There is some evidence supporting the claim that goji berries are a superfood. For example, one study had some participants drink goji berry juice for two weeks, then compared them to study participants who didn’t drink the juice.
The results show that goji berry consumption resulted in more energy and better athletic performance. Participants who drank the juice also reported that they slept better, felt calmer, and had less trouble focusing than before.
However, the outcomes were self-reported not measured with any kinds of objective parameters. Moreover, the study didn’t control for other factors that may have played a role in the results.
There are also many claims with respect to goji berry benefits like increased life spans, reduced arthritis pain, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
One Chinese study even claims that goji berries can work miracles on patients with cancer because they contain a chemical that reduces the size of overgrown cells and can cause cancerous cells to self-destruct.
However, many of these studies have not been well-designed or produced results that were not statistically significant. More studies need to be done before we can truly confirm these claims.
Getting the most out of goji berries
You can find goji berries in a lot of supermarkets, and they’re usually available both fresh or dried. You can add them to your lunch salad, shove a handful into your mouth in the morning, brew them as a tea, or pop them into your juice blender along with all the other ingredients.
They’re also great to cook with. Try them with pork and turkey for a touch of mouthwatering sweet flavor. Moreover, the vitamins in the berries will also help you get the most out of the iron in meat dishes.
Remember that your body needs about 400 grams of fruit and vegetables daily, and plan accordingly.
Goji berries can be a bit pricey, but make sure you stay away from cheap brands that seem too good to be true in terms of price. These brands may contain harmful preservatives that can trigger allergies in some people.
Still, there isn’t much to worry about in terms of safety when it comes to goji berries. You may experience mild stomach issues when you first add them to your diet, but it’s usually nothing to be concerned about. If you have more serious digestion problems, talk to your doctor about adding goji berries to your diet.
Some people don’t want to shell out too much money for expensive diet additions like goji berries. If you’re looking for less pricey alternatives, you can try:
- strawberries or blueberries
- leafy greens, peppers, and fruits like mangoes or papayas
- wheatgrass shots or powder
- green tea
Goji berries are a wellness food
Goji berries are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, and have an unusually high protein content compared to other berries. They’re the perfect healthy food. Plus, they can help you diversify your fruit and vegetable intake if you’re sick of eating the same thing everyday.
Research suggests that goji berries can boost your immune system and help you avoid colds, especially if you’re older. However, don’t expect them to be a miracle cure for arthritis or cancer.