The Health Benefits of Goji Berries
Over the past few years, goji berries have become more and more popular as people realized these tiny fruits have a big impact on health. Now dubbed a superfood, the health benefits of goji berries have actually been known about for thousands of years.
These small red berries are native to Asia, and in many areas were used as medicine for different ailments and illnesses and as a preventative measure to warn off sickness. While goji berries can be found in many Asian countries as a fresh fruit, in New Zealand it’s more likely that shoppers will have seen dried goji berries or the powdered variety of the fruit. So, what are the health benefits of these miraculous berries, and should you be adding them to your shopping cart?
What is a superfood?
Goji berries are often used as a health supplement and feature in many superfood blends. Goji berries contain chemical compounds called phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are produced by plants and are believed to protect plant cells from damage.
Some foods containing phytochemicals have been shown to have anti-cancerous effects. In general, superfoods are labelled as such because they prevent the breakdown of cells and have positive improvements on many parts of the body.
The phytochemicals found in goji berries include polysaccharides, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin. In a study of mice, polysaccharides were found to improve immune function and increase total antioxidant activity.
Beta-carotene is what gives goji berries their distinct red colour. This phytochemical is great for improving eye, bone, and skin health and cell development.
Zeaxanthin is also great for eye health and scientists are studying its effects on preventing muscular degeneration.
What are the nutritional benefits of goji berries?
Goji berries have amazing nutritional benefits. They are low in calories, surprisingly high in protein, fibre, iron and Vitamins A and C. Just 28 grams of goji berries (5 tablespoons) gives:
- Calories: 98
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 0.1 grams
- Carbs: 21.6 grams
- Fiber: 3.6 grams
- Sugar: 21.8 grams
- Iron: 11% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin A: 501% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 15% of the DV
Vitamins A and C are great immune boosters and act as antioxidants, helping to neutralize harmful molecules called free radicals, and preventing cell damage.
What are the health benefits of goji benefits?
Goji berries have been used for over 2,000 years in China and other parts of Asia to prevent and treat many different types of sicknesses. Modern science also shows the many benefits of adding goji berries to a healthy diet. Goji berries have been found to:
Prevent macular degeneration
As mentioned earlier, the phytochemical zeaxanthin has been shown to improve eye health. A 90 day study of elderly patients drinking goji juice showed an improvement of antioxidant levels in the blood and prevented hypopigmentation of the macular (part of the eye’s retina).
Boost the immune system
A 30 day study in older adults showed that drinking 120 ml of goji berry juice, had a positive effect on levels of immune cells and participants showed improved general feelings of well-being, such as less fatigue, better sleep, and increases in short-term memory and focus.
Prevent cancer forming tumors
One study published in the medical journal Drug Design, Development and Theory found that goji berries were effective in inhibiting tumor growth in mice, while boosting the effectiveness of cancer treatments.
Promote healthy skin
Goji berries are packed with beta-carotene, an ingredient often found in skin creams thanks to its ability to improve skin health, reduce irritation of the skin, protect against UV light damage, and slow the signs of aging.
Improves sleep, anxiety, and depression
Research on both rats and humans have shown that goji berries can improve sleep and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. In one study, healthy adult participants drank goji juice for 14 days and recorded their feelings of wellbeing, while a placebo group did the same.
The group drinking the goji juice reported improved energy, focus, and athletic ability. They also reported feeling calmer and more content than the placebo group, who didn’t experience any improvements during the study.
How do I add goji berries to my diet?
Goji berries commonly come in dried or powdered form in New Zealand, but many people forget to take vitamins and powders, even when the health benefits are clear. One of the easiest way to get the nutritional and antioxidants of goji berries into your diet is with High Protein Breakfast.
Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, only a small amount of High Protein Breakfast is needed to keep you full each day. Eat it on its own as breakfast or sprinkle over yoghurt to get all the immune fighting protection your body needs.
Our Berry Start Me Up Superfood, is not only good for you, it tastes great as well. We’ve combined delicious goji berries with premium-grade freeze-dried blueberries and strawberries, for a nutritious and flavourful breakfast. Start your day with our energising, nourishing and satisfying goji berry blend.