With all the buzz surrounding natural health in recent years from many people just wanting to feel and look better, it has brought to light many plant-based remedies that have been shown to be effective, and goji is one of them.
In fact, this super fruit is one of the only fruits to provide a complete list of essential nutrients, as well as many benefits, including improved skin, energy, athletic performance, and more, which makes it more than worthy of its share of attention.
What is Goji
These berries, which are also called wolfberries, are little juicy berries that, when fresh, resemble small peppers with a striking orangish-red color with a sweet, tangy taste. However, they often come dried, during which time they look more similar to raisins.
Wolfberries are packed full of minerals and vitamins, like antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, zinc, and fiber, as well as over 7 amino acids, more than any other fruit, which makes them fascinating in their own right. In fact, consuming just an ounce of wolfberries provides more than 9% of the daily recommended protein value.
Furthermore, just one-fourth cup of these berries satisfies more than 300% of the daily recommended vitamin A value.
What Is the Origin of Goji?
The wolfberry originates from Asia where it grows from a long sprawling evergreen shrub, where once the tiny sweet fruits become ripe, they are harvested and then allowed to dry, after which time they are available for purchase at various supermarkets, health stores, sports nutrition store, pharmacies, and the worldwide web. However, today, a few other commercial growers across the globe also provide wolfberries.
The plant can also be grown in your own yard, depending on the climate, for fresh fruit anytime you want.
The berry is also available in capsules, powders, tinctures, standardized extracts, teas, and juices for a convenient way to enjoy all of its benefits.
What are Goji Berry Benefits
Wolfberries’ nutritional make-up is so impressive it is coined a super fruit.
For instance, it is the only fruit to contain all the amino acids, which are needed for many critical processes in the human body, such as building and repairing the muscles, which makes it a great post-workout snack.
It is also surprisingly high in vitamin A, which promotes healthy skin and bones and also protects the eyes from vision problems, especially age-related eyesight decline.
The berry is also high in fiber, which helps keep your digestive system healthy, so you maintain a healthy weight, and it also helps you feel full longer, so you eat less. Fiber also causes your blood to rise slower, which helps prevent a sugar spike.
The high antioxidant content in these berries also helps the skin protect itself against skin damage and age-related issues, such as collagen loss, as well as helps fight free radicals, which can damage the cells and lead to many diseases, premature aging, and more.
Wolfberries also contain more iron than steak, which helps promote healthy oxygen- carrying blood cells, which protects against anemia and helps keep you energized.
It also contains more beta-carotene than carrots, which helps support eye health, bone health, cell development, and protects the skin against sun damage. Beta-carotene also helps prevent heart disease.
Meanwhile, vitamin C helps boost the immune system, which helps promote overall health. It also helps the body repair tissues, stimulates collagen, improves the absorption of iron, and helps maintain the cartilage, teeth, and bones.
Wolfberries also contain zinc, which helps protect against disease and illness, maintains crucial bodily functions, such as cell growth and division, and helps stimulate over 90 enzymes, which helps destroy toxins, and more.
What is Goji For?
The first documented use of wolfberries was in China, where it has been used for over 1,500 years for longevity. However, today, it is used in all parts of the world to treat a number of ailments, including premature aging, eye problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, fever, and more.
What Does Research Say?
As the common use of wolfberries has spread across the globe, they have been investigated by researchers for their health benefits whose findings conclude:
Goji Promotes Healthy Skin
Wolfberries have long been used to promote healthy skin, which is why it is often a common ingredient in many skincare products.
According to research, the beta-carotene, which is responsible for the fruit’s color, not only helps promote healthy skin, but it also helps protect against UV related skin issues, such as erythema, which is red patches on the skin caused by damage or irritation.
Goji Promotes Weight Loss
Wolfberries’ amazing combination of nutrients is believed to help weight loss. Furthermore, they also provide incredible energy, which can enhance the ability for daily exercise to lose weight.
In fact, one study conducted by Harunobu Amagase and Dwight M. Nance of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that after drinking the juice of the berry every day for two weeks, participants reported an improvement in energy and athletic performance, which resulted in minor weight loss.
Goji Supports the Immune System
Wolfberries rich antioxidant content has also been shown to boost the immune system and protect against free radicals and inflammation, which is believed to the cause of illness, disease, and premature aging.
One study even suggests that the consumption of the berry in combination with the flu shot may even further protect against the onset of the viral infection.
Goji Protects Eye Health
Research shows that the high level of beta-carotene and the antioxidant zeaxanthin in wolfberre may also help protect the eyes from harmful light exposure, which can lead to retina damage.
Meanwhile, another study showed that it also protected the retina from the early progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as various precursors of glaucoma, which is known to cause a loss of vision.
Goji Prevents Liver Damage
The vitamin and mineral content of the fruit has also been shown to help maintain liver health, which helps protect against the progression of liver disease.
Other studies show that the fruit’s compounds were also effective at preventing the growth of cancer tumors in the human liver.
Goji Maintains Blood Sugar Levels
Wolfberries have been shown to control the release of sugar into the blood, which helps keep blood sugar and insulin levels in check, which is especially important in those with diabetes. The study further concludes that they also increased good cholesterol in those with type 2 diabetes.
Goji Protects Against Cancer
Research shows that antioxidants help slow tumor growth, reduce inflammation, and help remove harmful substances from the body, which increases overall health.
Other research shows that the berries’s high cartenoids, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C content also help fight cancer cells.
Goji Improves Anxiety, Depression, and Sleep
One study involving several healthy adults showed that after consuming 120 milliliters of the berry juice each day for two weeks, participants reported improved mood, energy, ability to focus, and mental sharpness. Participants also reported improved calmness and sleep quality.
Another study suggests that it also help reduce anxiety.
What are the Side Effects?
People who consume wolfberries in supplement form should always consult their physician prior to use to avoid adverse effects; however, overall, the berry has been shown to be safe for most people, though some people have reported mild digestive issues when first eating the berries.
When consuming the berries in juice form, beware that some brands contain sulfites , which can trigger allergies in some people.
Wolfberries can also interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners, like Warfarin. It has also been shown to interfere with certain blood pressure and diabetes medications, so if you are on any type of meds, be sure to talk to a doctor before consuming the berries in any form as they may interfere with the absorption of the medication.
If you suffer from berry allergies, you should also get clearance from your doctor before enjoying the superfruit.
If you are pregnant, you should also consult with your doctor before consuming wolfberries because there is a risk it can cause uterine contractions. Likewise, nursing mothers should also seek advice from their physicians before eating berries to avoid complications.
As you can very well see, wolfberries may be one of the best plant-based remedies you add to your diet for a well-rounded source of health benefits. And, since they are available in a wide range of forms, there’s no shortage of options on how you consume them. For instance, add the dry berries to trail mix, hot cereals, salads, or meat dishes to enhance the flavor and nutritional value, or just grab a handful as a satisfying sweet snack any time of the day. Meanwhile, the tea or juice makes a great alternative to other highly caffeinated choices, while still providing a boost of energy, and the powder, tincture, or extract can be added to just about any beverage for a fruity, nutritional kick.