Goji Berries: Wonder or Bummer?
Updated: Jun 28, 2021
What are goji berries?
Goji berries, also called wolfberries, is a type of fruit that originates from Asia and contains many beneficial nutrients such as high amounts of fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron. These can all contribute to a healthier immune system and may be used as a sugar substitute to sweeten teas mixed into yogurts, oatmeals, salads, or baked goods!
Goji berries are small, vibrantly red berries that are full of sweetness and flavour. Not only do they taste amazing, but it contains many antioxidants as well as nutrients that are widely known for its medicinal properties. Though fresh goji berries are hard to find in stores, they can be consumed in other forms such as dried fruit form, juices, supplements, or powdered form.
The nutritional properties are best retained in the powdered type, which can be easily used in baking, cooking, or drinks to enhance the colour and add a boost of flavour to the dish. However, beware that many companies may add extra ingredients such as sugar or flavours in their juices to enhance the flavour.
Goji berries have a high nutritional value, with one serving (28g) providing 501% of the daily recommended value (DV) for Vitamin A, 11% of DV of iron, 15% of DV of Vitamin C and 4g of protein. However, it should be noted that dried goji berries are similar to other dried fruits such as Medjool dates, meaning that it contains a higher concentration of sugar than the fresh berries. Thus, it is important to watch the portion that is consumed with these berries.
Iron is important as it serves as a main mineral in the body that helps transport oxygen and help the growth of red blood cells. Additionally, goji berries contain high antioxidants, especially zeaxanthin, which helps to reduce damage from UV light, free radicals, and oxidative stress. This means that goji berries can protect our eyes from further damage and increase the levels of antioxidants in our body to neutralize free radicals (harmful molecules), which damage our cells.
Also, goji berries are packed full of Vitamin A and C, which help support the immune system. In addition, they have anti-inflammatory effects provided by the antioxidants, which help to remove harmful substances from the body. Goji berries also contain beta-carotene, which promotes healthy skin by reducing skin irritation and the effects of skin ageing.
While goji berries may be unfamiliar, they can be incorporated into our daily lives by using it to sweeten many of our favourite foods as it is a healthier alternative to cane sugar. Better yet, though goji berries taste sweet, goji berries' sugar is shown to be released into the bloodstream at a slower rate, meaning that the inulin and glucose levels stay low. have shown to be able to control a more steady release of inulin, helping you stay focused without sugar-crashes throughout your day!
Fun fact about its origins:
Goji berries are considered one of the best herbs to use for medicinal purposes in the 2010 edition of the Chinese Pharmacopoeia. This is because Goji berries are mostly cultivated in China. The types that we see in supermarkets are mainly the "Ningxia Goji" berries cultivated from northwest China, awarded the honourable badge of being a “national quality of agricultural products” in China.