Goji Berries: A True Superfruit and Anti-Oxidant Powerhouse

Goji Berries

We all know some of the most nutritious, antioxidant-packed (super)foods are berries – from blueberries to mulberries – and everything in between. How does the goji berry or “wolfberry fruit” stack up against its humble competitors? Is Goji a true superfruit and anti-oxidant powerhouse as purported?

Goji has been an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, and a popular superfood for fighting free radical damage, aging, and markers of disease.

Typically, goji berries are eaten raw and dried, but can also be used in a powdered form for smoothies, bowls, and shakes.

Nutritional Content of Goji Berries

Before even getting into the polyphenol and antioxidant content of goji berries, the nutritional content alone is quite impressive. ¼ cup provides (depending on dried or powder form, and how they’ve been processed) approximately:

70 Calories

12g of Sugar

9g of Protein

6g of Fiber

150% DV Vitamin A

84% DV Copper

75% DV Selenium

27% DV Vitamin C

21% DV Potassium

15% DV Zinc

42% DV Iron

Goji berries are also extremely rich in “phenolic acids,” “polysaccharides,” and “flavonoids” – biologically active compounds with beneficial health properties. These compounds are responsible for many of the health benefits attributed to goji berries.

Various studies and literature denote the many health-promoting properties of goji berries, such as those documented and compiled here.

Vision Support, Macular Degeneration, and Eye Health

Goji contains many ‘carotenoids’ – the natural pigments that give fruits bright orange and red colors, such as carrots (and goji berries).

This is why you have probably heard the old adage that carrots are great for vision health. They are extremely high in Vitamin A, and this is due to the beta-carotene content.

In particular, goji is high in the carotenoid “zeaxanthin” which is sometimes sold as an individual natural supplement for vision support. Research shows this compound protects the retina and improves retinal function. Further, human and animal studies looking at goji berry extract (not just zeaxanthin) found that goji was protective and restorative in the early stages of retina and macular degeneration.

Cardiovascular Protection, Lipid and Cholesterol-Lowering Support

Studies demonstrate goji berry extract as having a notable reduction in total cholesterol and triglyceride levels compared to non-goji berry treated animals with elevated blood pressure and hyperlipidemia. Meanwhile, “good” cholesterol levels, HDL, were unaffected or increased with the dosage of goji berry extract.

Aside from the high antioxidant levels of goji, they have also demonstrated the ability to lower blood lipid levels effectively in diabetic animal studies. Abnormal fat oxidization and accumulation in the blood vessels were inhibited in animals fed a high-fat diet after administration of goji extract.

Goji appears to also be beneficial for diabetes from other studies, which point to its ability to lower blood glucose levels significantly and impact the rate of glucose uptake.

Anticancer Benefits and Neuroprotective Benefits

Not only are goji berries beneficial for heart health, cholesterol levels, and lipids – but they also have potent benefits in the fight against neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s and even in protecting against cancer cell growth.

Goji has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for many decades specifically to prevent the progression and early onset of cancer – the whole goji berry seems to have a better preventative effect than just extracts of specific compounds alone (those most commonly sold as supplements). The polysaccharides which are present in goji (polysaccharides are also extremely beneficial parts of what make medicinal mushrooms great) have the ability to inhibit and prevent tumor growth without negative side effects.

Neurological brain health is an extremely important area of study, and the benefit of goji has been shown to reduce glutamate excitotoxicity, which is implicated in neurogenerative diseases. Treatment with goji showed a reduction in neurological deficits in stroke models and improved cognitive performance.

Goji – Should I Be Adding Them to My Smoothies or Bowls?

Similar to many other potent superfruits, goji berry offers a natural, whole-food antioxidant powerhouse that does not require supplementation or medication to confer benefits against cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, cancer, neurological disorders, and vision degeneration.

Best of all, goji is easy to incorporate into daily diets in a wide variety of dried forms, powders, and extracts for any need – all available at Healthy Planet Canada.

Share: