Known often as „super fruits”, they are becoming a regular part of our diet. For over 2,300 years, they have been used in traditional Chinese medicine as an important therapeutic and therapeutic ingredient. Since you can see the collective fashion for Goji berries, it is worth looking closely at their properties and positive effects, but also to mention the dangers of using these fruits.
The tradition of the Far East
The first records in which you can find mentions about Goji berries appeared about 2,300 years ago, in the Chinese ancient compendium of knowledge about agriculture and medicinal plants – „Shénnóng Běn Cǎo Jīng”. Apparently the first promoter of these berries, survived over 200 years, of course thanks to the consumption of these fruits! These fruits in Chinese medicine were used in the treatment of heart, liver, kidney and lung diseases, as well as a natural remedy for muscle, bone and vision. In Europe, Goji berries made their debut in the 17th century.
It is worth mentioning that the plant that produces berries is wolfberry or wolfberry – a close relative of wolfberry.
Goji berries are included in the group of „superfoods” because they contain a wealth of nutrients and have a positive effect on many organs in our bodies.
Dried goji fruits were awarded
– a polysaccharide complex that includes rhamnose, glucose and galactose,
– 18 free amino acids (including mainly proline) and non-protein amino acid – taurine,
-carotenoids (hence the red-orange color of the fruit),
– polyphenolic compounds, e.g. quercetin, rutin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid,
– vitamins B1, B2, B6, E, C,
– mineral components: potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, selenium,
– fatty acids (eg linoleic, oleic, hexadecanoic, myristic) and essential oils,
– food fiber, organic acids (apple, lemon, shikimic and fumaric).
The energy value of dried goji berries is 370 kcal in 100 grams, while IG is equal to 29 – they are recommended in the diet of people with diabetes.
Properties and application
Goji berries have a positive effect on the human body. An action is assigned to them
– anti-atherosclerotic and positive effects on the lipid profile (in studies LDL, total cholesterol and TG decreases were observed),
– hypoglycaemic (including increase in glucose uptake from peripheral tissues and reduction of insulin resistance),
– antioxidant (merit mainly carotenoids, flavonoids and polysaccharide complex),
– anticancer (especially for stomach, cervical and colorectal cancer) and immunostimulants.
Due to the numerous pro-health properties of Goji berries, they may be used not only in the prevention and therapy of civilization diseases (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, dyslipidemias, cancer), but also as an important element that supplements the daily diet with active nutrients – e.g. in the form of an addition to yoghurts, cocktails, cereal flakes, pancakes or smoothie).
Are goji berries safe?
As the popularity of berries increased, there was a controversy regarding the high alkaline toxicity of atropine in these fruits. However, specialist studies have not confirmed this information. There are rare but documented cases of allergic reactions in the literature, manifested by urticaria, pruritus, dyspnoea, rattling or dysphagia. Some studies also show that Goji berries can trigger allergic cross reactions with tomatoes or peaches.
It is worth remembering that the interaction of wolfberry fruit with anticoagulants has been documented – increasing the effect of drugs and increasing the risk of hemorrhage. It is therefore necessary to apply moderation and caution when using these drugs and at the same time consuming berries.
Goji berries are a good and tasty solution, as a valuable supplement to the daily diet for the whole family. However, remember to choose only berries from a good source (preferably organic) and do not overdo it with their amount during the day. In the case of co-occurring allergies (especially on tomatoes or peaches), take special care when administering these berries – it is best to start with a small amount and observe an allergy, or consult a physician.
Remember that Goji berries are not the only suitable product that will supplement our diet with nutrients. There are many others that we can easily replace these fruits (and at the same time save a bit) or simply use a varied, healthy diet that will not put us at risk.