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Goji berries — scam or a superfood ?

The goji berries are gaining momentum and go viral around the world. But do these berries really have such health-promoting characteristics as people claim? Find out what benefits you can get from eating them along with some facts and characteristics.

Nutrition values, vitamins and minerals

Dried goji berries (most widely used form) have 0.4 g of fats, 14.3 g of proteins and 77.1 g of carbohydrates which all sums up to 349 kcal in 100 g. They cover RDI (Reference Daily Intake in % for an average person) for Vitamin A in 536%, Vitamin C in 81% and Iron in 38%. They will give you a quick energy boost from sugars (45.6 g) and will make you full thanks to fiber (13 g).

Health Benefits

Skin and eyes protection. Goji berries have an impressive amount of Vitamin A which is responsible for skin and eyes protection and prevents them from premature aging. Daily dietary supplementation with goji berry for 90 days protects from hypopigmentation (parts of skin are lighter than the overall skin tone) and increases levels of antioxidants and zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin is a flame dye that can be found in plants. The biggest concentration of it is in our eyes (mostly in retina). Our body can’t produce it so we need to take it from food like broccoli, spinach, corn and red pepper.

Stabilizes blood sugar. Goji berries can balance glucose and insulin levels in the blood as well as increase level of the good cholesterol — HDL. Additionally, they can improve sugar tolerance and recovery of cells that help produce insulin. It’s recommended to consult a specialist before supplementing goji.

Some studies (here and here) report that eating goji just for 2 weeks can

  • significantly reduce stress and fatigue
  • improve quality of sleep and ease of awakening
  • increase ability to focus on activities
  • increase energy level and athletic performance

Last but not least, there was a promising study that revealed (tested on rats) berries to have positive effects on sperm quantity and motility, sexual ability and levels of testosterone.

Risks and side effects

Goji berries can have some side effects and interact with some medicine (for blood thinning, blood pressure and diabetes). You should consult supplementation with a specialist. They can increase risk of allergic reactions in individuals with food allergy (study). Bear in mind that goji berries have lots of Vitamin A and excessive intake of vitamins can lead to hypervitaminosis. Symptoms may include: blurred vision, bone pain or swelling, dizziness, nausea, irritability, headaches, vomiting and others.

Sources:

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