Ever wonder what the real benefits of Goji Berry are? This little Asian fruit has become quite famous in recent years because of its promise to bring many health benefits.
The fruit, whose scientific name is Lycium barbarum, belongs to the Solanaceae family , and has been used for millennia in Asian countries. Not only as a nutritious food, but also an active part of traditional medicine in countries like China, Japan and Korea. ( 1 )
The tree that bears the fruits of the goji berry comes from the Asian continent and was brought to Western countries from the 16th century onwards. However, until recent years, it was treated only as an ornamental plant, being cultivated in squares and gardens . ( 2 )
One of the main characteristics of the fruit is its bright reddish-orange color and its sweet and spicy taste at the same time, in addition to being rich in several nutrients and medicinal properties. ( 3 )
In this Home Remedy article you will highlight all the main benefits that the goji berry brings to health, where to buy it and what are the contraindications for its use.
Benefits of Goji Berry
The goji berry has been used for medicinal purposes in some Asian countries for over 2500 years. That is why it is commonly called a miracle fruit or super food, as recent studies have shown that it is extremely rich in several substances that are good for the body.
In this topic you will discover the 10 main benefits of this small fruit and what it is traditionally used for in folk medicine, check it out.
1. Lowers blood glucose
One of the main benefits found in goji berry is its hypoglycemic action. In other words, consuming it regularly helps to lower blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.
This was discovered in a study done on rats, which showed that animals that were treated with the fruit extract had a very significant drop in blood sugar after ten days of treatment. ( 3 )
2. Protect the vision
The phytochemical components present in the fruit are also responsible for protecting retinal cells from damage, whether caused by disease or by the normal aging action of the body. That is, it helps prevent what is called apoptosis, which is cell death and thus the degeneration of vision.
In addition, goji berry extract is rich in a substance called taurine. This substance is able to prevent the progress of cell degeneration that is caused by type 2 diabetes. ( 3 )
A study published in 2010 by Kansas State University showed that yes, the goji berry is effective in preventing retinopathy, which is the name given to the complication of diabetes that affects the eyes and can cause blindness. ( 4 )
Another study, led by Taiwanese researchers, indicated that frequent consumption of the fruit also helps reduce symptoms of dry eye syndrome. A disease where tears fail to hydrate the eye and can cause blindness if not treated correctly. ( 5 )
3. Lowers cholesterol
The phytochemicals present in goji berry are also responsible for controlling blood fat levels. Mainly because the fruit helped lower bad cholesterol, which is called LDL, while it increased levels of HDL, which is considered the good cholesterol for the body.
This is due to the presence of polysaccharides, carbohydrates made up of a large amount of molecules and which work as a source of energy. In addition, they help lower cholesterol levels, decreasing the chances of heart disease. ( 3 )
4. Has antioxidant action
Another benefit of consuming goji berry is its antioxidant action . Since it is rich in several substances that fight the action of free radicals, reducing the effects of cell oxidation and helping to prevent numerous diseases.
Some studies carried out in the last decade indicate that this is due to the fact that the fruit is rich in some components. For example flavonoids, vitamin C. polysaccharides and carotenoids. The latter is the natural pigment responsible for the vibrant color. ( 3 )
5. Promotes physical and mental well-being
Goji Berry juice, one of the popular forms of consumption, also helps to promote a sense of well-being. Both physical and mental.
That’s what a study published in 2008 in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine indicated . This study showed that consuming goji berry juice improved athletic performance, the ability to focus on certain activities, and even promoted calmness and feelings of happiness, mainly because it decreased fatigue and increased energy levels.
In addition, the group that consumed the juice was more willing and energetic to practice daily activities. At the same time, they had an improvement in sleep quality, reduced stress and greater ease in waking up. ( 1 )
6. Stimulates the immune system
One of the traditional uses of the goji berry in Chinese medicine is to improve the immune system. It has been proven, through several researches, that the fruit has phytochemicals that help in the production of white blood cells and antibodies, which help the body to fight against microorganisms that cause diseases. ( 3 )
7. It is anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial
The goji berry also exhibits anti-microbial properties, which are closely related to its antioxidant action. Therefore, it is traditionally used to treat diseases caused by microorganisms and to inhibit their proliferation in the body. ( 5 )
A study published in 2014 by researchers at Iuliu Hațieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Romania, indicated that the goji berry is effective against the proliferation of several types of bacteria. Like salmonella, for example. ( 6 )
In addition, the phytochemicals present in goji berry reduce inflammation and the action of cytokines, which trigger the inflammatory picture. With continued use, this can help reduce the mortality of people with chronic inflammatory diseases. ( 7 )
All these benefits, as well as the antioxidant action, are related to the large amounts of polyphenols, carotenoids and flavonoids that are present in the composition of the fruit. ( 8 )
8. Has anti-cancer action
In addition to all the benefits already mentioned, studies have proven the action of phytochemical compounds present in goji berry against some types of cancer. The fruit has been used for this purpose for millennia by traditional Chinese medicine.
The studies cited used mice and confirmed that daily consumption of goji berry juice significantly decreased cancer cell proliferation. Mainly sarcoma and prostate cancer types.
In addition, the components of the fruit prevent the death of healthy cells, preventing cases of necrosis. ( 3 )
However, the goji berry should never replace conventional treatments. It should serve as an aid and prevention for various types of cancer, since, because of its antioxidant action, it strengthens the action of the body’s cells that fight against this type of disease.( 9 )
9. Improves bowel function
Regular consumption of goji berry derivatives also benefits the gastrointestinal system, especially the large intestine, as the fruit is processed as a probiotic that helps to regulate organ functioning.
Thus, it is effective against constipation and diarrhea, as it also improves the quality of the intestinal flora, which is important for the maintenance of all body functions. ( 1 )
In addition, a study conducted in 2016 showed that the goji berry can help people suffering from colitis. That is, an inflammation that affects the large intestine and can cause severe pain, ulcers, bleeding and even death. ( 7 )
10. Protects the skin from damage
Finally, recipes prepared with goji berry help protect the skin against the action of UV rays. This was discovered in a study published in 2010, where rats that consumed the fruit juice showed less damage to the skin when exposed to these rays.
This is also related to the high levels of antioxidants present in the fruit, which can also help prevent some types of skin cancer and even help with hair loss caused by damage to the region. ( 10 )
Nutritional properties of goji berry
In the last decade, the goji berry has earned the nickname of super fruit, and it is no wonder, since it has a good amount of vitamins and minerals that are important for the functioning of the body. In addition to other substances that act to protect the body.
Among the main ones can be mentioned the high doses of vitamin C and phytochemical compounds such as flavonoids, polysaccharides, beta-carotene, lycopene and taurine. ( 12 )
In addition, the goji berry has vitamins A, E and the B complex, as well as protein, dietary fiber and minerals such as zinc , iron , calcium, potassium, copper and selenium. With just 23 calories for every 28 grams, which is the equivalent of two tablespoons. ( 13 )
How to consume
The goji berry is often found in Brazil already dehydrated, so it can be consumed in several different ways, in the form of teas and juices or as an ingredient in salads.
Because of its exotic flavor, it is very popular with many people and can be consumed daily even straight. For those who could not adapt to the flavor of the fruit, a good option is to consume it in capsules.
Below the Home Remedy separated two recipes for tea and juice that can be consumed before or after meals to improve the functioning of the gastric system, check it out.
goji berry tea
To prepare goji berry tea you will need 1 tablespoon of dried fruit for each cup of water. First, boil the water and then add the goji berry, turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for 10 minutes.
goji berry juice
Juices can be made with dried or fresh fruits and a mixture of other fruits of your choice. For the preparation you will need 1 tablespoon of goji berry, a glass of water and honey to sweeten it.
Blend everything in a blender, strain and drink it fresh. If desired, add fruits such as orange, pineapple or watermelon.
Does Goji Berry help you lose weight?
Yes, the daily consumption of goji berry is an ally in weight loss. A study conducted in 2011 showed that people who consumed the fruit juice in the morning showed a reduction of seven centimeters in waist circumference. ( 1 )
This fact is closely related to the ability to improve the body’s metabolism of fat . What ends up reducing the amounts of it in the body, providing a decrease in body weight with continuous consumption.
Also, goji berry fruits have a lot of fiber. When taken in the recommended amounts, they help improve intestinal transit, facilitating digestion and disposal of what is not needed by the body. Therefore, there is an acceleration in the process of natural and healthy weight loss. ( 14 )
Finally, goji berry is effective for those who want to lose weight because of its anti-inflammatory effect. Since this is a common condition in people who are overweight. ( 7 )
It also improves the quality of life, as it promotes increased energy and reduced fatigue during physical exercise and improved sleep, decisive factors for healthy weight loss. ( 1 )
However, it is always necessary to keep in mind that no food or herb is miraculous. That is, you need to use them only as a complement to healthy eating and allied to regular exercise.
Where to find and price
The goji berry can be found in many different ways. In Brazil, the most common is in dehydrated form or in capsules. Dehydrated fruits are often seen in natural and herbal product stores, fairs and even in some supermarkets. Almost always in the area reserved for diet products.
In virtual stores they cost on average between R$20 and R$50. Being found in versions from 100 grams up to one kilogram of product.
Capsules, on the other hand, have a greater price range, costing between R$20 and R$90 for 60 capsules. An important tip is to always check the composition when purchasing this type of supplement, to ensure that it is only made with the goji berry.
Care and contraindications
You must be careful when consuming goji berry, because it interacts directly with a type of drug called warfarin, an anticoagulant used to treat thrombosis.
Studies have revealed that the phytochemicals present in goji berry have the ability to enhance the effect of anticoagulants. Therefore, they can cause an increase in bleeding time in lesions, the appearance of bruises and even anal and nose bleeding. Therefore, those who use this type of medication should consult a doctor before consuming the goji berry.
In addition, some people may be allergic to fruit and have reactions to its consumption.
Another precaution with the consumption of goji berry is that consuming it along with other herbs can cause photosensitivity. That is, an increase in skin sensitivity when exposed to the sun. This often occurs when mixing goji berry with cat’s claw herb.
Finally, pregnant women who are breastfeeding and young children should avoid consumption. Since the properties and contraindications of the fruit have not yet been fully analyzed and can cause problems. ( 9 )