In recent years, goji berries have gained popularity, and they are often promoted as one of the best raw superfoods. The history of goji berry as a medicinal plant has roots in ancient China. Many people use them to treat eye, kidney, and liver issues. They are also known as wolfberries, which are festive red berries that have a sweet and slightly sour taste. Most of the time, they come in dried form just like raisins.
A raw goji berry is just about the size of the tip of your pinky finger or sometimes smaller. They are quite challenging to find in North America but are native to some countries in Asia and Europe. The unique thing about goji berries is that they contain specific antioxidants known as Lycium barbarum polysaccharides. These antioxidants are believed to give a variety of impressive health benefits.
If you want to know more about goji berries, then you’ve come to the right place. Today, we are giving you different healthy facts about goji berries.
Healthy Fact #1: Goji Berries are Very Nutritious
Goji berries are known to be very nutritious, the reason why they are considered to be one of the best raw superfoods. However, their nutritional content depends on the type, freshness, and how they are processed. For example, 85 grams or ¼ cup of dried goji berries can contain 70 calories, 12 grams of sugar, 9 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and 0 grams of fat. Aside from that, it can also contain vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, copper, selenium, vitamin B2, iron, vitamin C, potassium, and zinc.
If you base it by weight, goji berries contain about as much vitamin C as fresh oranges and lemons. They are also high in fiber and protein, which both can help in keeping you full for a longer period.
Healthy Fact #2: Goji Berries are Great Sources of Antioxidants
Goji berries are filled with powerful antioxidants, including lycopene, carotenoids, polysaccharides, and lutein. These antioxidants can help in protecting you from free radicals, which are harmful molecules that can damage the cells. Aside from that, these berries also have a high oxygen radical absorbance capacity score of 3290. This specifies the number of antioxidants in specific foods. In fact, this score is much higher compared to that of bananas and apples.
Antioxidants consumed through the diet are believed to be essential for health and protection against chronic diseases. Therefore, adding goji berries into your diet can be a great idea if you want to live a healthier life.
Healthy Fact #3: Goji Berries May Have Anti-Aging Benefits
The antioxidants that goji berries contain may also help in fighting aging by preventing free radicals from damaging the skin’s collagen. In fact, there are studies that suggest that goji berry extracts can help delay the aging process in cells. Eating a wide range of foods that are high in antioxidants is believed to help protect against premature aging. Since goji berries contain high amounts of antioxidants, it means that it may also help you fight premature aging.
Healthy Fact #4: Goji Berries May Help Improve Blood Sugar Control
There’s one study where goji berry polysaccharide extracts were given to rats with type 2 diabetes for four weeks. After the study, the researchers found that the blood glucose levels of the rats decreased by nearly 35%. This positive effect on blood sugar is strongly connected to the antioxidant activity of goji berry extract.
Based on studies, goji berry extract can promote insulin sensitivity through increasing the absorption of glucose into cells through the transporter molecule GLUT4, and as well as by boosting insulin secretion by the pancreas. However, these studies are still limited to animals, and it is not yet clear if it will have the same positive effects on humans as more research is needed. But it can be possible.
Healthy Fact #5: Goji Berries Can Boost Immune System and Flu Protection
The vitamins that goji berries contain may be able to increase and support the immune system and as well as flu protection. Based on early lab testing, they found out that goji berries can help enhance the effectiveness of flu vaccines in aged mice. This is essential because the flu vaccine does not always provide enough protection against the virus.
This study suggests that goji berries may help prevent succeeding infections for older people who have received a flu vaccine. However, keep in mind that they cannot be replacements for flu protection. It is still important to get a flu shot every year.
Healthy Fact #5: Goji Berries Can Be a Potential Weight Loss Aid
Goji berries contain healthy energy into small servings. They have rich, sweet taste together with their high-fiber content, which can help you stay on track with eating healthy. To prevent overindulgence at mealtime, you can eat them for a light snack. You can add some to yogurts or salads, just like how you would use raisins. Goji berries are low-calorie berries and are low in sugar, too. This makes them a great substitute for other dried fruits that have high sugar content.
Healthy Fact #6: Goji Berries are Antioxidants for Eyes and Skin
Goji berries contain an antioxidant called zeaxanthin. This gives the berries their bright color, the same with saffron and bell peppers. This same antioxidant can also protect cells against breaking down when exposed to elements like radiation and smoke. Foods with healthy levels of antioxidants are also usually high in fiber and low in unhealthy fats. Based on a study, older adults who incorporated goji berries into their diets for 90 days had less hypopigmentation and fewer drusen or yellow deposits in their eyes.
Healthy Fact #7: Goji Berries Can Help Maintain Blood Sugar Levels
Goji berries are sweet, but they can help with lowering blood sugar, improving sugar tolerance, alleviating insulin resistance, and as well as improving and recovering cells that help produce insulin. This means that they are perfect for those who have a sweet tooth but are looking for healthier alternatives.
However, it is important to consult with your doctor first before you add goji berries to your diet, especially if you are taking medicines to manage your blood sugar levels. And if you start eating goji berries regularly, you also need to check your blood sugar more often.
These are some of the healthy facts about goji berries. If you are searching for a new nutritious food that you can add to your diet, then goji berries may be a good source. They are packed with vitamins and minerals that may help in increasing your overall well-being. They can be more expensive compared to other fruits, but can also help you feel better and boost your health.