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All about “Goji Berry”

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History of goji berry

Native to China, they have been used for at least 2000 years in traditional Chinese medicine and are said to have the benefits of protecting the liver and kidneys, stimulating the immune system, and preserving the integrity of neurological functions and sight organs. the effects of aging. But are all of these effects actually documented by science or is it a marketing effect?

Nutritional value of goji berry

For 28 g or 75 ml
Calories 98 kcal
Water 2.1g
Carbohydrates 21.6g
Dietary fiber 3.6g
Protein 4 g
Fat 0.1g
Vitamin C 13.6 mg
Calcium 53 mg
Iron 1.9 mg
Vitamin A 2255 µg

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28

Health effects of goji berry

Vitamin C / antioxidants

Goji berry contains vitamin C. In addition to its antioxidant role, vitamin C contributes to the maintenance of skin integrity, helps wound healing, protects cells from premature aging caused by free radicals and facilitates immune functions. In addition, it facilitates the absorption of non-heme iron of plant origin.

The ORAC index for goji berries is high, at 3,290 4 . For comparison, blueberries have an index of 4669 and cranberries of 9090. The ORAC index measures the antioxidant power of a food.

Polysaccharides

The polysaccharides present in goji berry have been studied in type 2 diabetics. In one study, the consumption of a powdered concentrate of 150 mg from goji berry had the effect of lowering blood sugar in addition to ” increase HDL (good cholesterol) cholesterol 1 . More studies are yet to come, but the effect looks promising. Caution should be exercised, however, as the amounts consumed during the study are far greater than those that an individual could consume in the form of dried berries or in juice.

Vitamin A / beta-carotene

Goji berries are an excellent source of vitamin A. Retinol is one of the active forms of vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is one of the most versatile vitamins, working together for several body functions. Among other things, it contributes to the growth of bones and teeth, keeps the skin healthy and protects against infections. In addition, it plays an antioxidant role and promotes good vision, especially in the dark. Goji berries are also rich in beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, precursors of vitamin A with antioxidant power which limits oxidative stress and free radicals, molecules responsible for the aging of our cells. Beta carotene may also improve certain functions of the immune system 2-3. In addition, these carotenoids are also studied in the areas of macular degeneration, cataracts, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer such as lung, oral cavity, pharynx and cervix. However, the data is not yet convincing.

Other effects

Some studies mention, with the consumption of 125 ml of goji berry juice per day, a feeling of well-being and calm, better athletic performance, better quality of sleep and even weight loss and waist circumference with the increase in energy / calorie expenditure. Unfortunately, these studies are very few and they contain gaps in their protocol. They must therefore be repeated several times before any recommendations can be made.

Using the goji berry

Goji berries are sold in dried or juice form. The dried form can be eaten as is or you can also soak the dried berries in hot water to rehydrate them before consuming them. They can also be added to mountain mixes, smoothies or as a garnish on breakfast cereals, salads or yogurts. Goji berry juice is often mixed with other types of juice to vary the flavor (grapes, apple, pear).a

A word from the nutritionist

In light of the few recent and reliable clinical trials, the goji berry seems to be a small red fruit like the others. For its very high cost, I do not think it is necessary to include it in its daily diet. There are other berries just as interesting to eat and much less expensive that will have the same effects on health. However, there is still an excellent choice of berries.

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