Wolfberry, also called scarlet, more specifically its fruits – goji berries (Lycium barbarum) have been consumed by humans for thousands of years. According to Chinese medicine, this fruit has the ability to regenerate the liver and kidneys, relieve respiratory ailments, even treat infertility. It is to help us relieve fatigue, improve concentration, recover from illness. But is it all true, or maybe another money making product? Modern specialists, above all marketing, also convince us that goji berries are elixirs of youth, supporting immunity, prolonging the life of nerve cells, a way to civilization diseases (diabetes and hypertension), mood ameliorators, and finally to support healthy weight loss. Let’s learn bit more about this!
Both species are native to Asia, and have been long used in traditional Asian cuisine. The fruits are similar but can be distinguished by small but significant differences in taste, sugar content, and content of the aminoacid betaine.
The fruit has also been an ingredient in traditional Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese medicine, since at least the 3rd century CE. The plant parts are called by the Latin names lycii fructus (fruit), herba lycii (leaves), etc., in modern official pharmacopeias.
Before you add goji berries to your diet
Always talk to your doctor before you begin eating goji berries. Some companies may say they have less side effects than medications. But goji berries can interact with any medications you’re currently taking.
You should avoid adding goji berries to your diet if you:
- have low blood sugar
- are using blood thinners such as warfarin
- have low or high blood pressure
- are breastfeeding or pregnant (can cause miscarriage)
- are allergic to the fruit
One-fourth cup of goji berries also fulfills 340 percent of your intake for vitamin A. You may want to limit how much you eat to reduce the risk of vitamin A toxicity.
Goji berries – nutrients
Goji berries contain many nutrients. In goji berries we find vitamins, minerals and 19 amino acids, 8 of which are not produced by the human body. In addition, Goji berries are a rich source of iron, calcium, zinc, copper, phosphorus, selenium and germanium, which has proven anti-cancer activity.
It is also interesting that Goji berries have 50 times more vitamin C than an orange. In addition, Goji berries contain beta-carotene, fatty acids and as the only one of food products stimulate the body to produce growth hormone.
Goji berries – health properties
Although Goji berries have been known in Chinese medicine for centuries, there are currently not many studies that would confirm the effectiveness and safety of using Goji berries in the form of dietary supplements. However, it has been proven that the properties of Goji berries have a positive effect on the human eye.
Thanks to the properties of Goji fruits, our overall health also benefits. In recent years, Goji juice has become a very popular health drink. In China, the legend about a man who daily consumed the fruits of Goji and lived 252 years is repeated. Thanks to Goji berries, we will not survive so much, but the action of Goji berries can support us in some health ailments. These include liver protection, improved sexual function and improved fertility.
As a result of consumption of Goji fruits, there is also an improvement in the condition of hair and skin, increased immunity, improved circulation and effective support of weight loss. Studies on Goji fruits have shown that they can effectively slow the growth of cancer cells.
Goji berries are an excellent source of zeaxanthin – an antioxidant that can protect eyes from the harmful effects of acute light, such as UV radiation. The action of the antioxidants contained in Goji berries supports lutein, which improves visual comfort and reduces the risk of cataractasases – related to age – macular degeneration.
It is known, however, that Goji berries eaten in large quantities can lower blood sugar levels. In addition, Goji berries are known to also react with drugs for diabetes and medicines used in thrombosis and cardiovascular diseases. Interestingly, the fresh Goji berry is unavailable in Poland. Eating unroasted Goji berries may result in food poisoning.
Most often in shops we find Goji berries in the form of dried fruit and in the same form are used in China for medical purposes. An interesting fact is that the fresh Goji berries should not be touched with bare hands, because then the oxidation process takes place and the Goji berry turns black. Goji fruits are harvested by shaking on special mats. Goji juice is also available, which is recommended due to the content of antioxidants.
The taste of dried Goji berries can be described as sweet with a slightly spicy note. Traditionally, in Chinese culture Goji berries were eaten raw, added to tea and soup or liquid extracts made from them. It is also worth bearing in mind that until now little is known about the side effects of eating Goji fruit.
Particular caution in eating Goji berries is recommended for children, pregnant women and nursing mothers. Of course, as with every ingredient, and with Goji fruit, you need to find a right way You can not eat Goji berries, but you should include them in your diet as an addition to yogurt, tea, fruit soup or compote.
Goji seeds are a common component of dietary supplements. On the subject of dietary supplements with Goji berry, the reviews are very positive. According to reviews, Goji berries help to lose weight and have a wonderful, confirmed effect on the skin.
But, for sure?
You can find a lot of diffrent opinions about this fruit. Some of them praise goji beries, some of them not.
We asked the for the resolution of health issues as well as the indication of a good source of information med. Aleksandra Kapała, chairwoman of the nutrition team of the Oncology Center of the Institute Maria Skłodowska-Curie in Warsaw, chairwoman of the Dietetics Section of the Polish Society for Enteral Nutrition, Parenteral Nutrition and Metabolism. Unfortunately, she did not have good news for us:
“I can not make a firm statement about this product. There are no serious studies: neither for nor against. The content of nutrients in these berries is served with a huge spread. Personally, I think that the Polish market has a wealth of products with a known content of ingredients and You do not have to resort to diet confusion, use products imported from distant countries, you do not know what conditions, of course, it’s my personal opinion. I do not recommend it to my patients and do not include their goji berries in their menu, if they are different, proven fruit.”
So what to do?
You making your own choices what you eat and what you believe. In my opinion truth is somewhere in the middle.