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Are Goji Berries a Go-To Fruit?

by Nicole Nutter

Healthy Goji Berry in heart shapeGoji berries are a small Chinese fruit that is red in color and well known for its 2,000 years of medicinal use. Also referred to as the Chinese wolfberry, these have been recommended by traditional health practitioners in Asia to improve circulation and eyesight, support a healthy immune system and protect the liver.

The Livestrong website notes that these berries can be eaten raw or dried, juiced, fermented into wine, brewed into tea, in soup or in healthy snacks like trail mix. As a supplement, goji comes in the form of powder or extract—which is sometimes used in skin care products. So, you have all these ways to enjoy the Goji berries, but what exactly will it do for you? Well, according to Columbia University, these berries “may improve feelings of well-being, sharpen psychological functioning, encourage regularity, increase quality of sleep, promote calmness and bolster athletic performance.” They also offer potential anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

There isn’t enough scientific evidence to support all of the health claims that have been made in favor of this fruit, but it does show potential. Timothy Moynihan, M.D., said that the effects of goji berries are still unknown in regard to cancer and various other conditions. “There are no clinical studies examining the role of goji berries and goji extracts in helping with human disease.” But the vitamins and antioxidants they provide can help to improve and maintain overall health.

WEbMD indicates that the anti-oxidants and other compounds found within these berries may help support those suffering from heart disease and high blood pressure. The anti-oxidants may also help to reduce the risk of some serious conditions and diseases by protecting the body from free radicals. This could help slow the natural aging process. Goji berries have compounds rich in vitamin A that could provide similar anti-aging benefits. They are what protects vision and boosts immune function. These high levels of antioxidants and vitamins promote good health, but unlike some goji supporters believe, it is not a miracle food.

Dr. Oz has mentioned the goji berry on The Dr. Oz Show and suggests using the fruit in a smoothie he says can “turn back the clock,” called ‘The Longevity Shake.” The ingredients that follow are to be combined in a blender, and enjoyed:

    • (For 1 person)
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • Fresh blueberries (use frozen when blueberries are out of season, and the amount of about 1 freezer pack of the frozen berries.)
    • 1 handful dried goji berries
    • Heaping tbsp of powdered MACA
    • ½ a banana

Before eating goji berries, you should be aware that they could interact with some medications, especially if you are ingesting large quantities of the fruit. Dr. Moynihan states that gogi berries and supplements could interact with drugs used to help control diabetes and blood pressure. WebMD and Planet Berries both warn that if you use anti-coagulant medication, such as warfarin, you should probably avoid consuming goji berries. Though generally safe to consume, we recommend consulting your physician before taking a goji berry supplement or before eating the fruit if you take blood thinners, drugs for diabetes or if you have certain allergies. Any questions you have can be answered by your doctor.

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