What are Goji Berries?
People in Asia have been consuming goji berries for over 2,000 years now. Most of them swear by the health benefits of goji berries. Some benefits include anti-aging properties, blood sugar regulation, and boosting the immune system, among many others.
Though native to Asia, the reputation of these brightly colored fruits has preceded them. More and more people around the world are becoming increasingly interested in these fruits as both food supplements and medicinal herbs.
This great interest has prompted great shipments of goji berries from the Asian markets to food stores around the world. These days, you can even order your goji berries online or buy them at your local health food stores.
Following the growing popularity of goji berries and their nutritional benefits, the medical science community has since taken a deep interest in studying them. Known by the scientific name Lycium barbarum, scientists have started establishing empirical evidence supporting some of the claims on the health benefits of these berries.
What Are The Health Benefits of Goji Berries?
In recent times, people who claim their health has remarkably improved from consuming these berries have turned goji berry evangelists! Hell-bent on spreading the ‘good news of the goji berries nutritional value on the human body.
Medical scientists are not far behind their trail, as they debunk the truths from the myths of consuming these fruits and any possible side effects. The following are some of the scientifically proven health benefits of these berries:
1. Goji Berries can help prevent age-related eye problems
A person living on a goji berries nutrition get a high intake of high-quantity healthy antioxidants such as zeaxanthin. This antioxidant has been praised for being able to stop age-related eye deteriorations that can be caused by:
- UV light
- Oxidative stress
- Free radicals
A study report published in the American Academy of Optometry’s journal Optometry and Vision Science found that senior citizens who drank the goji berry juice for a period of 90 days had an increased level of positive antioxidants such as zeaxanthin.
The zeaxanthin antioxidant rose to quite high levels in their bodies and had quite positive effects on the preservation and protection of the human eye.
That report was backed by yet another study report published in the journal Drug Design, Development, and Therapy, which highlighted yet other positive goji berries side effects on the human eye.
The second report said consumption of the fruits protects the retina from the ganglion cells that lead to glaucoma, a fatal eye condition that has left many blind.
2. Goji Berries can boost the Immune System
The goji berries are packed with healthy antioxidants, which boost the immune system. The berries arm the human body with the ability to fight off free radicals and inflammation.
The berries are rich in vitamins A and C, which are vital elements in the building up of the human body’s immune system. A robust immune system goes a long way in fighting various infections, from the common cold to more severe conditions like cancer.
The beneficial antioxidants one gets from these berries can slow down the growth of tumors, reduce inflammation, and flush away harmful substances from the body.
A study report on mice published in the journal Drug Design, Development and Therapy says that the goji berries can inhibit the growth of tumors, while also boosting the effectiveness of cancer treatment therapy.
3. Goji Berries promotes healthy skin
Other positive side effects of the goji berries come from an essential plant phytochemical called beta-carotene. The beta-carotene supports healthy skin, by fighting off skin irritations, reverses skin aging, and helps manage the harmful effects of the Sun.
A study report on mice that were given 5% goji berries juice to drink found that the mice became immune to UV light skin damage, among other skin disorders.
4. Goji Berry juice stabilizes blood sugar
For years, goji berries evangelists have been claiming the brightly-colored fruits have helped them manage their blood sugar. That has since been corroborated by science through a 2015 research study that showed goji berries help balance the insulin and glucose levels in the blood.
The study further showed links between the consumption of goji berries and the rise in HDL levels in patients with type 2 diabetes; HDL is what is popularly known as good cholesterol.
5. Alleviates depression, anxiety, and sleep problems
During a lab test on rats back in 2016, researchers established that goji berries could help combat depression and anxiety. A subsequent lab test was done on humans in the United States, and it was established that people who drink goji berry juice experienced increased body energy, were in a better mood, and had improved the digestive system.
In the US study, two groups of participants consumed 120 milliliters of the goji berry juice and another group a placebo drink over the course of 14 days.
After the lapse of the 14 days, the two groups were given questionnaires to fill out. The questionnaire questions gauged how they felt emotionally, their general state of wellbeing, psychological and neurological health, musculoskeletal symptoms, cardiovascular and digestive complaints.
They were also asked if there were any other new adverse effects on their health and general life that they could attribute to the drinking of the goji berries juice or the placebo juice. The researchers further took measurements of the subject’s blood pressure, weight, body mass, vision, and pulse before and after the 14 days.
On the 15th day, it was then established that the group that took the goji juice had more energy, could focus on tasks better, showed enhanced athletic abilities, felt calmer, had a sharp mental acuity, and felt more content.
On the other hand, those who took the placebo juice did not have the above-mentioned positive manifestations.
6. Goji Berries can prevent liver damage
For centuries, Chinese traditional medicine practitioners have been using goji berries to treat liver problems. A previous research study shows that goji berries are effective in managing liver health complications, such as preventing deterioration of the alcohol-induced fatty liver disease.
A separate research study on the effects of goji berries juice on the liver revealed that the fruits help inhibit the growth of tumors in the liver.
What are the side effects of goji berries?
Well, there is always a two-sides to a story, and goji berry evangelism is no exception. Medical scientists have observed rather undesirable effects of consuming the goji berries on patients using certain medications, including:
- Drugs for diabetes
- Blood Thinner medications
- Blood Pressure medications
Individuals using such medications should always consult with their doctors before taking up goji berries nutrition. The same goes for anyone who has experienced allergies from consuming other types of berries.
Why Are Goji Berries A Superfood?
Many goji berries benefit evangelists use the word superfood to describe the health benefits of goji berry nutrition. The medical science community has to a great extent backed that term, revealing the chemical compounds inside the fruits and how they impact the human body and mind. The phytochemicals found in the fruit, such as zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and polysaccharides, have been proven essential in the fight and prevention of various conditions and diseases that can afflict the human body.
Check out Nagi’s own raw chocolate goji berry bars today!