Goji Berries Benefits, Properties & Precautions: This fruit, which is part of traditional Chinese medicine, is known for its powerful antioxidant properties.
For some years now, with the increase of the tendencies that promote healthier lifestyles, the consumption of a certain type of fruits, vegetables or plants known as “superfoods” has been popularized and to which innumerable beneficial health properties are attributed.
One of the first “superfoods” popularized in the West is the Goji berries. A few small fruits widely used in Asian cuisine and medicine. Throughout this article, we will discover what goji berries are, their properties, benefits, and precautions that should be taken during their consumption.
What are Goji berries?
The Goji berries are a fruit that comes from two hawthorn plants of the Solanaceae family, known as Lycium barbarum or Lycium chinense. Two species that, although different, are closely related.
This fruit, of small size and of a color that can go from orange to red or dark pink, is native to Asia and has been used for a long time in traditional Asian cuisine. The different kinds of Goji berries are very similar, regardless of the type of plant they come from, although subtle but significant differences can be found in terms of flavor, sugar content and the content of nutrients and amino acids.
For about 30 years, Goji berries and products derived from it have gained great fame in Western countries, thanks to the numerous properties and benefits of these fruits. The high concentrations of vitamins, minerals and their high protein value can help to promote the general physical well-being of those who consume them.
At present, we can find Goji berries in most supermarkets and specialty stores. These are marketed both fresh and dehydrated and, in addition, there are also derivatives in the form of a capsule to consume more quickly and comfortably as a natural remedy.
If we want to include them in our daily diet, goji berries are very tasty mixed with cereals, other nuts or yogurt. Also, it is also interesting to include them in recipes with lean meats as they provide a sweet touch to the meals.
What Are They for? Goji Berries Benefits and Properties
According to the knowledge of traditional medicine, Goji berries are characterized by having a large number and variety of health benefits. However, not all of these benefits have been demonstrated scientifically. For this reason, we list below the properties and benefits of Goji berries backed by science.
1. Antioxidant properties
According to studies, Goji berries contain a high level of antioxidants, especially from a molecule known as zeaxanthin. In addition to its antioxidant power, zeaxanthin is the one that gives these fruits their characteristic color.
Antioxidant agents play a fundamental role in the protection of cells against aging and decomposition; especially when they are exposed to harmful agents such as pollution or radiation. Likewise, like other foods rich in antioxidants, Goji berries are a great source of dietary fiber and are also low in unhealthy fats.
2. They favor weight loss
As we said in the previous section, Goji berries have a high fiber content. In addition, they provide the same energy as other healthy foods stored in very small portions. This, along with its sweet taste, can be a great help when losing weight, as they are a way to relieve the need for sweet during the diet and also promote digestive movements.
Its nutritional value low in calories and in sugar but rich in proteins, make Goji berries an exceptional alternative to other nuts that provide many more sugars or fats.
3. Help maintain blood sugar levels
Goji berries can favor maintenance of low blood sugar levels, as well as improve tolerance to the east, relieve insulin resistance and improve and recover the state of the cells that help produce insulin.
4. Reinforce the immune system
The vitamins and nutrients present in Goji berries (vitamin C and A, iron, and zinc) can help strengthen the immune system, which also means greater protection before diseases or conditions such as influenza.
Laboratory studies, conducted in animal models, show that Goji berries can enhance the effectiveness of influenza vaccines. Although it has not yet been shown in humans, this is of vital importance because the flu vaccine does not always provide effective protection against this virus.
5. Can increase testosterone levels
Traditionally, Goji berries have been used for a long time in traditional Asian cuisine. But, what is true in this?
Recent studies with animal models revealed that Goji berries could exert a significant effect on testosterone levels. As a consequence, this meant a greater quantity and quality of sperm, a shortening of the ejaculatory response and an improvement in sexual performance.
Although still in the process of investigation, research suggests that pharmacological elaborations from Goji berries may become an alternative to traditional medications administered for erectile dysfunction.
Warnings and precautions
It is convenient that, before starting to include Goji berries in the diet, consult your doctor or pharmacist. The reason is that these fruits can interact with the effect and effectiveness of certain drugs.
In addition, there are some health conditions for which the consumption of Goji berries is not recommended. These include: