Goji berries / Wolfberry (Lycium barbarum) have been an important herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine for more than 2,000 years. Monks in the Himalayan Mountains may have been eating them long before that. They are still known for their benefits for overall health, longevity, vitality, stamina and energy.
Based on modern studies of goji berries, nutrition also adds versatility to their value. They are a high-antioxidant food with a broad range of phytonutrients, vitamins and trace minerals. Goji berries clearly deserve their reputation as a modern superfood.
When asking the question, are goji berries good for you, the answer is a resounding YES.
Taking a look at the highlights of modern research on goji berries shows why they are so phenomenal for your health. In addition, considering the extensive history of medicinal goji berries, side effects are rare.
Science Behind Goji Berries
The U.S. online medical database, PubMed, lists more than 400 research articles about Lycium barbarum. Research reviews point to a wide variety of benefits. For example, a 2010 review cited research on the use of goji berries for treating atherosclerosis, diabetes, high blood pressure and liver disorders.
In addition, a clinical study in 2010 confirmed that goji berries can improve several aspects of overall health, including:
- Energy levels
- Athletic performance
- Quality of sleep
- Ease of awakening
- Ability to focus on activities
- Mental acuity
- Feelings of health, contentment, and happiness
- Decreased fatigue
- Reduced stress
When researchers started looking for the active ingredients in goji berries, they found hundreds of substances (2013; 2017). The most important of these constituents turned out to be polysaccharides. The unique composition of goji polysaccharides explains the versatility of health benefits derived from these superfruits.
Goji berry polysaccharides account for a phenomenal set of health benefits. The most well-researched of these are: antioxidant, immune system boost, antitumor, neuroprotection, protection against radiation, anti-diabetes, liver protection, anti-osteoporosis and antifatigue.
The most recent research on goji berries addressed one of the biggest health issues in modern times, metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is a cluster of several medical conditions. Most prominent among them is abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol levels. Metabolic syndrome is associated with a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
This research was one of the first clinical studies on how goji berries can influence metabolism. Results were positive for several aspects of the metabolic syndrome (2017). The most obvious change noticed by the patients themselves was a significant reduction in waist circumference within the 45-day trial. Results of this study bode well for the potential of goji berries to help with weight loss.
Of all the properties that goji berries offer, though, the most important might be a discovery published in a 2017 study on gene expression. This investigation showed how a goji berry extract can prevent DNA damage from oxidative stress.
We now know so much about goji berries that the question is no longer whether they are good for you. It is now better to ask, is there anything these berries can’t do?
How to Get Your Goji Berries
Overall, the sum of goji berries health benefits and side effects make for a wonderful fruit to consume regularly. Dried goji berries are now commonly available in health food stores.
Your best bet for convenience, though, is a good goji berry supplement. Eating goji berries every day might become tiresome. Fortunately, capsules containing dried and powdered goji berries are easy to find.
(NEXT STEP: Supercharge your day with 8 of the most nutrient-dense organic superfoods created to boost your nutritional health.)