Goji Berry: Nutrition Facts, Benefits, and Side Effects

Goji Berry: Nutrition Facts, Benefits, and Side Effects

Goji berries are tiny red fruits and are also known as wolfberries. These tiny fruits are potent antioxidants and medicines and are colourful and flavourful. They are available in two forms which are powdered and dried. They are also a healthy addition to various supplements and juice blends.

Their scientific name is Lycium barbarum. Goji berries are native to Asia and have a sweet and slightly sour flavour. They have been a part of traditional medicine since time immemorial. They are essential to slow down the signs of ageing and maintain eye health. In addition, they strengthen your liver, kidneys, and lungs.

Varieties of Goji Berries

There are five varieties of Goji berries available across the globe. They are easy to cultivate as they do not need a particular climate. Still, some of them require specific growing conditions to produce yield.

African Boxthorn

Their scientific name is Lycium Ferocissimum. Ferocissimum is a Latin term for ferocious. It is termed ferocious because it is full of thorns on its branches. 

They are native to Africa. They are a fruiting plant in Africa, but they act as a fencing shrub in Australia.

Black Goji Berries

Their scientific name is Lycium Ruthinicum. They are the rarest varieties of Goji berries available and can reach 4 to 6 feet in height. They are native to the Northern Himalayas, and their preference is gradually growing among the cultivators.

Australian Boxthorn

Their scientific name is Lycium Australe and is a close relative to the African boxthorn. The only difference is that African boxthorn is considered a weed in Australia. It favours a drier climate with fine sand and clay-rich soil.

Arizona Desert-Thorn

Their scientific name is Lycium Exsertum. It is a dense shrub. 

It produces an abundant amount of green leaves, usually 2 centimeters long, and they come covered with tiny white hairs.

Pale Desert Thorn

Their scientific name is Lycium Pallidum. They are a mini version of Arizona Desert-Thorn in appearance. Although they require a similar climate to Arizona desert-thorn, they are half in size. They produce lilac coloured flowers that measure an inch in diameter.

Nutrition Facts of Goji Berries

100 grams of Goji berries contain:

  • Calories: 349 kcals
  • Fat: 0.4 g
  • Protein: 14.3 g
  • Carbohydrate- 77 g
  • Fibre: 13 g

Vitamins and Minerals

Goji berries also contain good amounts of vitamins and minerals.

  • Calcium: 190 mg
  • Iron: 6.8 mg
  • Vitamin C: 48.4 mg
  • Vitamin A: 8040 mg

Benefits of Goji Berries

Goji berries have several health benefits backed up by scientific evidence.

1. Anti-inflammatory

Goji berries have anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial compounds. They have the highest concentration of protein among fruits. In addition, they have more than 15 times the iron present in spinach. They are also rich in calcium and zinc. You can add Goji powder to your smoothies. You can also have them as a snack. 

According to a study, Goji berries improve overall health. They boost the functioning of your immune system. Hence, it is highly beneficial for people with arthritis.

2. Helps in Hair Growth

There are numerous benefits of Goji berries when it comes to hair. According to research, Goji berries are rich in vitamin A and C. They help in the easy absorption of iron. In addition, vitamin A improves blood flow to the scalp. It also enhances memory power. Vitamin C enables the absorption of nutrients. 

Add Goji berry juice with essential oils and almond oil and massage it on your scalp. Leave the hair mask for 30 minutes and wash it off for gorgeous hair.

3. Improves Depression, Anxiety, and Sleep Quality

Goji berries help improve depression and anxiety-related conditions. In addition, consuming one cup of Goji berry juice daily can enhance energy, mood, and digestive health. Furthermore, as per a study, it positively works on the focusing ability and athletic performance.

It strengthens your mental acuity and feelings of calmness. Goji juice shows results quickly, and one can include them every day.

4. Improves Kidney Function

As per research, goji berries have active agents which help remove toxins from the body and improve kidney function. When the kidney function undergoes disruption, it may lead to the accumulation of waste materials in the body. These berries reduce the burden on the kidneys by eliminating free radicals and toxins from the body.

A combination of Goji berries and fruits, salads, and pulses act as an excellent immune booster.

5. Regulates Blood Pressure

Goji berries are rich in polyphenols. They help get rid of free radicals from the body and are thus highly beneficial for people with high blood pressure. In addition, according to a study, they contain phytonutrients that improve the immune system’s response.

In addition, due to their antioxidant properties, they may repair DNA damage caused by pollution, smoking, and other such factors. They also help in the conversion of vitamin A. Hence, it would help if you regularly consumed moderate quantities of berries.

6. Improves Fertility

Goji berries are beneficial in Chinese medicine to support fertility and IVF success rates. They are superfoods and are rich in antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin C. They are also full of calcium, iron, and amino acids.

Goji berries help in improving fertility in both men and women. Studies show that they may increase sperm count and strength, sex drive, and reproductive hormone function. In addition, they benefit ovaries, strengthen egg quality, and reduce fatigue to enhance sex drive.

Below are some exciting recipes using Goji berries.

Recipes Using Goji Berries

Goji Berry Juice

Goji Berry: Nutrition Facts, Benefits, and Side Effects- HealthifyMe

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • Fresh Goji berries: 100g
  • Water: 100ml
  • Salt to taste 

Method

  1. Separate the stems from the berries and wash them. 
  2. Blend all the ingredients at high speed for approximately 30 minutes.
  3. Add water as needed.
  4. Serve it in a glass and enjoy.

Goji Berry Ginger Tea

Goji Berry: Nutrition Facts, Benefits, and Side Effects- HealthifyMe

Preparation time: 1 hour

Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • Goji berry: 15 grams
  • Hot water: 100 ml
  • Ginger (thin sliced): 1 piece
  • Rock sugar- 5 grams 

Method

  1. Wash the Goji berries in cold water and drain the water out.
  2. Boil 100ml of water in a container.
  3. Once boiled, switch off the stove and remove the container.
  4. Add Goji berries, ginger, and rock sugar to the boiled water.
  5. Cover them with a lid for approximately an hour to maximise flavour.
  6. If you are running out of time, you can cover it for 10-15 minutes. Uncover the tea and enjoy it with your friends and family.

Sometimes, Goji berries may harm health if you consume them in excess. So let’s look at the potential downsides of having Goji berries.

Potential Downsides

Goji berries have a unique nutritional status with numerous health benefits. As long as you take them in moderate quantities, they can benefit you. However, if taken in excessive amounts, they may cause specific side effects.

Allergies

Individuals with known allergic reactions to other fruits should be cautious while taking Goji berries. Studies show that such people may trigger an allergic reaction. Hence, it is essential to find out if you are allergic to goji berries if you have any known allergies to other fruits.

Interaction with Drugs

People who take diabetes or high blood pressure medications should refrain from their use. Goji berries may interact with certain drugs, including blood thinners. You should not add Goji berries to your diet if you are on medications or undergoing treatments for any underlying health conditions. It would help if you went for the advice of a healthcare provider first before making any personal choices. Hence, being aware of the adverse effects is as essential as knowing the benefits of Goji berries.

Pregnancy

There is not enough evidence to explain the effect of Goji berries on pregnant women. Studies suggest betaine, a compound usually found in them. Hence, it is safer not to have them. They may harm fetal health, which may give rise to complications.

Conclusion

Goji berries are tiny red coloured fruits that are native to China. You can use them for adding flavour to your food and even serve as traditional medicine. They are available in five different varieties across the globe and are highly beneficial for your health, including them in your diet is a good idea.

They have anti-inflammatory properties, help hair growth, and improve depression, anxiety, and sleep quality. In addition, they are good for your kidneys, treat high blood pressure, and enhance fertility. You can create exciting recipes with them. But people with certain exceptions need to be cautious while consuming them—for example, people who are allergic to certain fruits or have diabetes and high blood pressure. Pregnant women should not consume them as they may negatively affect fetal development. So, keeping in mind the benefits and downsides, you should find a balance in your diet to maximise results.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How many Goji berries should you eat a day?

A. You can eat about 30 grams of Goji berries in a day in the form of juice or extract. You can use it in the dry and powdered form too. Also, you can add them to smoothies and protein shakes.

Q. Why are Goji berries bad for you?

A. Goji berries may be bad for you in some instances. They may interact with some drugs and cause side effects. Avoid them if you are taking warfarin or any other blood thinner. Talk to your doctor if you are on other medications, especially diabetes and blood pressure. 

Q. Can I eat Goji berries every day?

A. Yes, you can eat Goji berries every day. They delay the ageing process and improve kidney and liver function. In addition, they also improve eye health. Furthermore, Goji juice boosts energy levels, improves focus, and gives you better sleep at night. 

Q. Are dried Goji berries good for you?

A. Yes, dried Goji berries are good for you. They contain healthy antioxidants which have immunity-boosting qualities. In addition, they can fight harmful free radicals and inflammation. 

Q. What vitamins are in Goji berries?

A. There are numerous vitamins and minerals in Goji berries. They are particularly rich in vitamin C and A. In addition, they are full of fibre, iron, and zinc. Antioxidants present in them also make them a healthy snack. 

Q. Are Goji berries better than blueberries?

A. No, blueberries are better than Goji berries. Goji berries are higher in calories, while blueberries have 84% fewer calories. Thus, 100 grams of blueberries have 57 calories, and Goji berries have 349 calories. 

Q. When is the best time to eat Goji berries?

A. You can eat Goji berries any time of the day. In addition, they benefit you the most before a workout. You can add them to your breakfast too. You can soak dried Goji berries in hot water for a few minutes until they soften. 

Q. Are Goji berries anti inflammatory?

A. Yes, Goji berries are anti-inflammatory. They also have antifungal and antibacterial compounds. In addition, they contain the highest concentration of protein of any fruit. They have 15 times more the amount of iron found in spinach. 

Q. Do Goji berries help hair growth?

A. Yes, Goji berries are beneficial for hair growth. They maintain a healthy scalp area. They have antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, they aid hair growth. 

Q. Who should avoid Goji berries?

A. Some people should avoid Goji berries as they might cause side effects. For example, pregnant women, individuals who are allergic to certain fruits, and those on medications for diabetes and high blood pressure should not have Goji berries. 

Q. Can Goji berries help you sleep?

A. Yes, Goji berries help you sleep. They are rich in melatonin which improves your sleep pattern. In addition, they reduce depression and anxiety-related behaviours. They also enhance energy levels, mood, and digestive health. 

Q. Are Goji berries bad for arthritis?

A. No, Goji berries are not bad for arthritis. They are high in antioxidants which reduce inflammation. However, if you have arthritis, you should steer away from citrus fruits. Instead, you can have blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. 

Q. Are Goji berries good for kidneys?

A. Yes, Goji berries are good for your kidneys. When your kidneys function poorly, waste gets accumulated in the body. Goji berries remove oxygen free radicals and other toxins. Thus, they reduce the burden on your kidneys. 

Q. Is Goji berry high in potassium?

A. Yes, Goji berries are high in potassium. 85 grams or ¼ cup has 21 percent of the Required Daily Intake (RDI). They are also rich in zinc and have 15% RDI in the same quantity. Similarly, they have a good amount of Thiamine, 9 percent of the RDI. 

Q. Is Goji berry good for high blood pressure?

A. Yes, Goji berry is good for high blood pressure. It has chemicals that lower blood pressure and blood sugar. It also stimulates the immune system. In addition, it is essential for protecting organs. 

Q. Are Goji berries alkaline?

A. Yes, Goji berries are alkaline. They help balance pH levels in your body. Pineapples, apples, and lemons also work for the same. 

Q. Do Goji berries have caffeine?

A. Yes, Goji berries have caffeine which provides you with energy. It is also rich in other antioxidants. 

Q. How do Goji berries improve fertility?

A. Yes, Goji berries improve fertility in men and women. They increase sperm count, improve strength, enhance sex drive and reproductive hormone function. 

Q. How many calories are in 100 g of Goji berries?

A. There are 349 calories in 100 g of Goji berries. In addition, they have 0.4 g total fat and 298 mg sodium. 

Q. What is the nutritional value of Goji berries?

A. The nutritional value of Goji berries is excellent. For example, 100g of Goji berries have 349 calories, 77g of total carbohydrate, and 14 g of protein.

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