Goji berry (Lycium barbarum) is an ancient fruit popular in traditional Chinese medicine. It’s a red berry that grows on an evergreen shrub native to China, Mongolia, and the Tibetan Himalayas. If you have ever wondered whether goji berries actually live up to their superfood reputation, you will be impressed to find out that 1 ounce of raw goji berries contains 250% of the daily requirement for vitamin C.1 With lots of fiber, and phytochemicals, goji berries are a nutritious way to flavor your plate.
What makes goji berries so good?
Goji berries are often called a superfood because they contain chemical compounds called phytochemicals that are produced by plants. Phytochemicals in goji berries include polysaccharides, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin.
Polysaccharides are a primary characteristic of the goji berry. These are an essential source of dietary fiber. A study using aging mice found that polysaccharides in goji berries helped with improving immune function and increasing total antioxidant activity in the body.
Beta-carotene is responsible for the orange-red color pigment in goji berries. Beta-carotene is vital for eye health, bone health, skin health, and cell development. The amount of beta-carotene in goji berries is among the highest of all edible plants.
Zeaxanthin plays a crucial role in supporting the immune system. Many researchers believe that zeaxanthin can prevent macular degeneration, a progressive vision impairment that occurs when the central part of the retina, or macula, deteriorates.
Adding goji berries to the diet
People can buy goji berries in most health food stores and Asian or European markets. They can easily add fresh and dry goji berries to:
It is also easy for people to carry some with them when they go out and eat them by the handful as a snack.
Who should avoid goji berries?
Goji berries may interact with some medications, including:
-blood pressure medications
-People taking these medications should talk to their doctor before adding goji berries to their diet.
Anyone with an allergy to other berries should discuss this with a doctor before consuming fresh or dry goji berries or taking any supplement containing goji berry extracts.