8 Amazing Benefits of Goji Berries You Didn’t Know About
You know it’s crucial to get nutrient-rich berries into your diet—but don’t stop at strawberries and blueberries. Goji berries might not be as common, but they’re a superfood loaded with a wide range of health benefits.
Good for your eyes
Could goji berries replace carrots on the list of foods that are good for eyesight? Here is that list, by the way. The berries are high in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, as well as the antioxidant zeaxanthin. This makes them a natural treatment for macular degeneration. “These antioxidants help to combat the damage done to the macula by UV light exposure and other oxidative stress,” says Lauren Cornell, MS, RD. The powerful fruit is also a natural treatment for glaucoma, according to a study from the journal Drug Design, Development, and Therapy.
High in fiber
“Goji berries are high in fiber, a nutrient that 95 percent of Americans don’t get enough of,” says Mascha Davis MPH, RD. “Fiber has tons of benefits, including lowering the risk of certain cancers and helping reduce and eliminate excess cholesterol and even toxins.”
Keep you regular
“Since goji berries are considered a good source of fiber, they can help promote bowel movement regularity,” says Cornell. “They also provide nutrients such as vitamins A and C and minerals like zinc, iron, calcium, and selenium, which are necessary for the repair and regeneration of the tissue of the gastrointestinal lining.” Here are some other food rules to follow for good gut health.
Lots of iron
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“These berries are also a good source of iron,” says Davis. Three tablespoons of dried goji berries provide about 3 mg or 15 percent of the recommended daily value. “Iron deficiency anemia is one of the more common deficiencies in the U.S., especially among women, so adding these berries can be a good way to boost this essential mineral,” she says.
Filled with antioxidants
One of the main goji berry benefits is that they can help fight disease and inflammation since they are high in antioxidants. Goji berries score high on measurements of antioxidant capacity, says Davis. “This helps to fight off colds and the flu and may even help to slow the aging process by keeping cells healthy.” Here are some other foods rich in antioxidants you should be eating.
If you’re looking to boost your immune system, turn to goji berries. “The fruit can help keep our immune system healthy and give us an extra boost to help ward off colds, the flu, and similar illnesses,” says Davis. “Vitamins C and A are critical to good immune health, and goji berries provide high amounts of both.” And check out these 12 habits that can support your immune system.
If protein is a priority for you, you might be interested in how to eat more healthy protein without even trying. Goji berries are unique in that—unlike most fruit—they’re a good source of protein, delivering about a gram per tablespoon. They also contain 18 amino acids, including all eight essential amino acids, making them a great addition to everything from your breakfast oatmeal to salads.
Bursting with energy is the one thing everyone craves—here are 25 natural energy boosters. And goji berries could be on the list: a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that volunteers who drank goji berry juice daily for two weeks reported increased energy levels, improved athletic performance, better focus, and mental sharpness. “Goji berries can also speed up the clearance of blood urea nitrogen, a waste product we produce after strenuous exercise, making it extremely helpful for consumption prior to workouts,” says Carrie Gabriel MS, RDN.