Traditional Chinese Medicine has used Goji berries since centuries to cure a variety of ailments. The West has only recently woken up to their health benefits. So powerful is this superfood that, if legend is to be believed, it might even help you live longer. Indeed, the legend of Li Qing Yuen is a famous one where it is believed that this Chinese herbalist and martial artist lived to be 252 simply by eating a handful of goji berries everyday! So today we will study the health benefits, side effects and some easy ways to eat goji berries for weight loss.
What are goji berries?
Goji berries are small (2 cm long) red berries known for their sweet tangy flavor. They grow on the L.Bararum plant which is the sub-species of the Solanaceae family. Thanks to their rich chemical and medicinal composition, these berries have been used extensively in Chinese cooking and traditional Chinese medicine.
Studies on Goji berries
Many studies have been conducted on this super fruit for their health benefits. These have proven the blood sugar regulating effect of the super food. Rabbits with diabetes that were administered the extract from the berries showed reduction in sugar levels. Likewise, studies have also shown that animals given goji extracts had lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Certain compounds in goji berries also have proven anti cancer effects. Rats with glaucoma that were fed goji extracts showed that the polysaccharides and zeaxanthin in the extract showed neuro-protective properties on the animal’s retina.
Health benefits of Goji berries
A handful of goji berries can provide you many powerful antioxidant compounds. They have following health benefits:
- Liver– Consume goji berries juice everyday to support and strengthen the liver.
- Eye health– As stated above, this superfood contains lutein and zeaxanthin which are needed for preventing age related macular degeneration, cataracts and other age related eye issues.
- Immune function– A handful of goji berries daily can ward off diseases.
- Circulation– Goji berries improve blood circulation to benefit hair and skin.
- The Betasitosterol in goji berries have anti-inflammatory properties which lower cholesterol and prmote sexual health.
- Weight loss. Many formulations containing extracts of the berries are sold as weight loss supplements. More research is needed to ascertain these claims.
In his book The Top 20 Super Fruits, writer Paul Gross states that just a quarter cup of these berries a day will provide you with all the B vitamins, 22 trace minerals including zinc, copper and selenium, more iron than spinach and 24% of the RDA of potassium. A handful of them will also give you 100% of your daily quota of iron, copper and riboflavin along with 18% of zinc. The berries also provide antibacterial and anti-fungal effects.
Goji Berries taste
The berries have a sweet and tangy taste which makes them ideal for use in sweet or savory dishes. You can snack on berries as is. Goji juice is also available but it is very expensive.
How to eat goji berries for weight loss?
The best way to eat these berries for weight loss is raw. Add them to your breakfast cereals or snack on them as is. You can also add them to your smoothies and shakes. Goji berry tea is also available in the market. Alternatively, you can make a homemade trail mix by mixing your favorite nuts, seeds and berries. Add them to your yogurt to boost its health benefits.
Goji berries side effects
We need more research to ascertain there aren’t any adverse effects of consuming goji berries. There is also a possibility that they might interact with certain medicines such as those for diabetes, deep vein thrombosis, etc. So talk to a doctor before taking their extracts for weight loss. Also some people felt that the berries impact their sleep as they raised their energy levels to the point where they are unable to sleep at night. Pregnant women should not consume too many of these berries owing to their high selenium content. Some people have also experienced dizziness and gastric disturbances (such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea etc) upon consuming too many of these berries.
Goji berries are superfoods thanks to these health benefits they offer. Of particular importance is their high anti-oxidant content. They are wonderful for weight loss as they reduce appetite and prevent hunger pangs. A handful of them can actually improve your mood! No wonder experts call these tiny fruits as the ‘happy berries’! Go ahead and enjoy them every day!