Goji berries are very nutritious. They are high in fiber, protein and a range of vitamins and minerals including iron, copper, selenium and vitamins A and C. Regularly consuming concentrated goji berry juice can boost antioxidant levels in the body. Goji berry extract has been shown to protect against cell damage in test-tube and animal studies. This may protect against premature aging, but more research is needed in humans. Goji berry extract may inhibit or slow down the growth of cancer cells and may even actively destroy them. Test-tube and animal studies show that goji berry extract improves blood sugar control by increasing insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion by the pancreas. Regular consumption of goji berry extract may improve energy levels, exercise performance and overall feelings of well-being. Goji berries are low-GI and high in fiber, which can help with weight loss. Concentrated goji berry juice may promote weight loss through increased calorie burning. Animal studies have shown that goji berry extract may help lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increase "good" HDL cholesterol. Goji berry extract may help boost the immune system by increasing the white blood cells responsible for protecting the body against harmful bacteria and viruses.
Goji berries, scientifically known as Lycium barbarum, are also known as wolfberries, fructus lycii and gougizi. These dried red berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years ().
They have a sweet taste and can be eaten raw or consumed as a juice or herbal tea. They can also be taken as extracts, powders and tablets.
All dark blue or red berries, including goji berries, contain high levels of , which may help protect the body against damage from free radicals.
What's unique about goji berries is that they contain specific antioxidants called Lycium barbarum polysaccharides, which are thought to provide a variety of impressive health benefits.
In addition, goji berries provide 11 essential amino acids—more than other common berries ().
Read on for 9 evidence-based health benefits of goji berries.
1. Very Nutritious
The nutritional content of goji berries is thought to vary widely depending on the type, freshness and how they're processed.
As a rough guide, ¼ cup (85 grams) of dried goji berries has about ():
Sugar: 12 grams
Protein: 9 grams
Fiber: 6 grams
Fat: 0 grams
Vitamin A: 150 percent of the RDI
Copper: 84 percent of the RDI
Selenium: 75 percent of the RDI
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 63 percent of the RDI
Iron: 42 percent of the RDI
Vitamin C: 27 percent of the RDI
Potassium: 21 percent of the RDI
Zinc: 15 percent of the RDI
Thiamine: 9 percent of the RDI
In addition, they are packed full of powerful antioxidants, including carotenoids, lycopene, lutein and polysaccharides. In fact, polysaccharides make up 5–8 percent of dried goji berries ().
By weight, these berries contain about as much vitamin C as fresh lemons and oranges ().
For a fruit, goji berries are relatively high in protein and , two nutrients that may help keep you fuller for longer.
A 100-gram serving of goji berries provides around 11 grams of , compared to just 1 gram of protein in every 100 grams of blueberries or raspberries (, , ).
Goji berries are also rich in copper, iron, selenium and zinc.
These minerals are essential to the function of all your organs, protecting your cells and helping optimize metabolism