Goji berries are one of the healthiest antioxidant foods available. However, the fact that goji berries boast some amazing health benefits isn’t exactly a new discovery.  Goji berries are low in calories and packed with nutrients that benefit the body in numerous ways. From boosting your immune system to improving your vision, goji berry health benefits do it all!  It’s great for young kids, the elderly, and everybody in between.  To learn more about the numerous goji berry benefits, read below!

What are goji berries?

Highly prized in Traditional Chinese Medicine for over two thousand years, goji berries, also known and studied as wolfberries, should be a staple food for any health enthusiast (1).  Goji’s latin name is lycium barbarum or lycium chinense.  Lycium is a genus of a flowering shrub in the nightshade family.

Here are 7 Goji Berry Health Benefits:

1. Goji Berries Provide High Levels Of Nutrients

On the list of goji berry benefits is an exceptional amount of nutrients.  In fact, goji berries are perhaps the most nutrient-rich berry on the planet, providing a startling array of extraordinary nutrients.  First, as a complete protein source, gojis boast all 8 essential amino acids with an average of 16 amino acids, depending on variety.  That’s an amazing protein source for a small berry! Along with their protein and fat content, goji berry health benefits are a good source of antioxidants, especially carotenoids.

A Healthy Dried-Fruit Snack:

Because the berries are most often consumed in dried form, like raisins, the nutrient density goes up:  ounce for ounce, you are getting a higher concentration of antioxidants. Gojis also contain over 20 trace minerals, including zinc, iron, and riboflavin. Goji berries offer more beta-carotene than carrots and more iron than spinach!  If that’s not enough for you, goji berries contain special long-chain sugars called polysaccharides.  These nifty carbs have antioxidant properties that support the immune system (2).

2. Goji Berries Improve Immune Function And Fight Cancer

Naturally, with all of their nutrients, goji berry benefits extend to your immune system, as well. Inflammation is an important immune system function. But when out of control, it can cause serious damage. The anti-inflammatory compounds in goji berries help fight inflammation and support the immune system (3).  Naturally, the high antioxidant concentrations in goji berries, including beta-carotene and other carotenoids, help improve immunity and prevent common illnesses. The antioxidant properties of polysaccharides may enhance your cells’ immune response, and goji berries contain numerous, diverse polysaccharides that have been shown to help the body fight cancerous cells, tumor growth, and harmful toxins in the body (4). These are some amazing goji berry health benefits.

3. Goji Berries Promote Healthy Skin

Also on the list of goji berry benefits is the ability to improve the health of our skin. Whether by eating goji berries or using topically, the nutrients in these tiny powerhouse fruits promote skin health. In particular, the concentrated amounts of beta-carotene and lycopene in goji berries help promote healthy skin and blood. When skin takes on a dull appearance, dehydration may be the cause and can make the skin more susceptible to damage from UV light rays. Goji berries can help combat the onset of dehydrated skin thanks to the tremendous amount of hydrogen they contain. Hydrogen is what is needed to create “hydration,” so snack on these berries daily.

Health Benefits of Goji Berries Includes Protecting Against Skin Cancer:

Studies have shown that drinking juice made from goji berries increases your protection against free radical damage from the sun (5). This can help provide extra protection for those who are susceptible to skin cancer and other skin disorders.

4. Goji Berries Help Stabilize Blood Sugar

Goji berry benefits include stablizing blood sugar, as well.  As such, goji berry health benefits may prove especially beneficial for those who are suffering from sugar disorders.  This is because goji provides significant sugar normalization effects, especially when cooked with carbohydrate dishes such as rice (goji and rice have been cooked together for centuries). Goji berries are considered friendly to blood sugar because of their diverse array of long-chain, medicinal polysaccharides (long-chain sugars)—known as “LBP” in the research for Lycium Barbarum polysaccharides (6). They also provide significant hypoglycemic effects to help control the release of sugar into the bloodstream. Goji berries are often recommended as a natural diabetes remedy to increase insulin sensitivity and balance blood glucose levels — thanks to their high levels of complex carbohydrates.

5. Goji Berries Help Detoxify The Liver

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, goji berries are one of the best foods for promoting liver health.  Why?  The liver is our main detoxification organ, and it must rid our bodies of toxins that we put in, as well as toxins that we create through natural metabolism.  Over time, we build up “bad” estrogens (estrogens that are missing a methyl group). So methyl groups aid the liver in detoxifying bad estrogens. Goji berries offer an elegant answer:  betaine.  Betaine, a gentle liver detoxifier, works by adding methyl groups to the liver’s arsenal of metabolic detoxifiers. In fact, goji berries can be used as an ingredient in a liver cleanse, a natural kidney stone remedy, or a blood cleanse.  This may explain why goji berry health benefits keep the body young and rejuvenated.

6. Goji Berries Provide Energy

Also on the list of goji berry benefits is the ability to provide natural, nutrient-ridden energy. A study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that drinking goji berry juice on a regular basis can help improve mood and energy levels, as well as digestive health (7). Participants in the study who drank goji juice for two weeks reported improvements in their energy levels, athletic performance, and focus, as well as reduced fatigue and stress.

7. Goji Berries Protect Eye Health

Goji berry benefits extend to your eyes, as well! The high levels of antioxidants in goji berries make them a natural treatment for macular degeneration (8).  In fact, goji berries contain perhaps the highest concentration of the eyesight-improving antioxidant zeaxanthin, a carotenoid that helps heal the membranes of our eyes. Zeaxanthin gets into your eyes, which helps to protect the eyes from free radicals, damage from UV light exposure, and other forms of oxidative stress. Another potent phytonutrient in goji berries is lutein, well-known for its benefits to eye health.  Regularly snacking on goji berries can help protect your eyes from damage and age-related disorders.

How to Eat Goji Berries:

What can you say other than maybe we should try this stuff?  You definitely should reap these health benefits of goji berries by incorporating them into your regular diet.   Why wouldn’t you? Goji berry health benefits are amazing! You can eat goji berries raw, or you can turn them into a juice or tea.  Or, you might try adding them to smoothies, muffins or scones.   They are also a delicious way to add a nutritional kick to your trail mix!  What a perfect way to get an energy boost while enjoying a hike!

Goji Berries Side Effects

While these little berries can help improve your health, there are some side effects to consider.  For example, you shouldn’t consume goji berries before bedtime as their energy-boosting properties can interfere with sleep.  Furthermore, goji berries may affect warfarin as well as certain diabetes medication.  They may also cause hypertension, and those who suffer from pollen allergies may also have an allergic reaction to goji berries.