Goji berries, also known as wolfberry in Traditional Chinese Medicine, have been traditionally regarded as a longevity, strength-building, and sexual potency food of the highest order due to its densely packed nutrition profile. With its rich nutrients, mild-tangy taste and recent popularity, the goji berry has become a well-known “super” fruit worldwide. However, they have been used for thousands of years in the subtropical regions of China, Mongolia and the Tibetan Himalaya Mountains for a host of health related benefits. While the health advantages associated with the goji berry are well recognized, their nutritional value and composition is less understood. Goji berries have an extraordinary nutritional profile.
Jodi Helmer in “Goji Berries: Antioxidant Supreme,” illustrates the antioxidant ability of goji fruits. Goji berries are a rich source of antioxidants such as flavonoids, polyphenols, carotenoids and vitamin C, E and A. The goji berry contains 500 times more vitamin C per weight than an orange making them second only to camu camu berries as the richest vitamin C source on earth. It is no surprise that the antioxidant value of goji berries contribute to its ability to improve the immune system, fight infection, and support overall eye health. In addition, researchers have been studying the potential of that whether they can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, reduce blood glucose and lower cholesterol levels secondary to their ability to reduce free radicals in the body. According to David Wolfe, Master of Nutrition, in his book, “Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future.” Goji berries are some of the highest antioxidant-containing foods in the world. Antioxidants help protect your body against free radicals. Free radicals are electrically charged molecules that cause damage to your cells on a cellular level, which contribute to signs of aging. According to David wolfe, As you age, you produce less Human Growth Hormone. Decreasing levels of this hormone is linked to signs of aging. Gogi berries are the only food known to stimulate your body to naturally produce human growth hormone.
Amino Acids and Protein
Amino acids are vital to life as they play a central role as the “building blocks” of the body. Amino acids are the intermediates in metabolism and provide structure for the muscles, tendons, glands, organs, nails and hair. In addition, cell maintenance, growth and repair of the body depend upon amino acids. There are amino acids that the body can make from dietary sources which are termed “nonessential amino acids” and there are amino acids which must be consumed because the body cannot make them, called “essential amino acids.” According to Kirk Bachelder in “Dried Goji Berries,” goji berries contain 18 amino acids, including the eight essential amino acids. These berries therefore are a nearly complete source of protein.
Goji berry contain 18 kinds of amino acids (six times higher than bee pollen) and contain all 8 essential amino acids (such as isoleucine and tryptophan). They contain up to 22 trace minerals (the main ones being zinc, iron, copper, calcium, germanium, selenium, and phosphorus) and are the richest source of carotenoids, including beta-carotene (more beta carotene than carrots), of all known foods or plants on earth!
Vitamins and Minerals
Paul Gross in “The Top 20 Superfruits: #5 Goji,” reports that in just a quarter cup of goji berries there are B vitamins including thiamin, riboflavin and niacin, 11 essential vitamins, 22 trace minerals including zinc, copper, calcium, selenium, phosphorus and more iron than spinach. Goji berries contain: 24 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of potassium, 100 percent of the Recommended Reference Intake of iron, copper and riboflavin and 18 percent of zinc. Goji berries are packed full of vitamins and minerals, both essential and nonessential.
Goji Berries contain polysaccharides which fortify the immune system. As with any fruit, goji berries contain sugar. However, rather than just simple carbohydrates, goji berries are also full of eight polysaccharides, which are considered complex carbohydrates, that can fortify the immune system.
Polysaccharides are long-chain sugar molecules and are a primary source of dietary fiber. According to Goji Capital.Com, polysaccharides help to fortify the immune system, support a healthy intestinal mucosal lining, lower pH and enhance mineral uptake, promote a positive mood, support energy levels, and enhance optimal heart and liver function. The polysaccharide content offers the distinguishing characteristic of the goji berry, promoting its superior nutritional value.
As reported by Environmental Nutrition, the goji berry has a remarkable number of other nutrients comprising phytochemicals, essential and nonessential fatty acids, and pigments. Additionally, goji berries contain anti-inflammatory agents such as beta-sitosterol, which are known to lower cholesterol and promote sexual health. Goji berries are also known for their anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties
Chinese Materia Medica page 334 (Dan Bensky, Andrew Gamble with Ted Kaptchuk) The Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus With Chinese Medicine (Bob Flaws, Lynn Kuchinski and Robert Casanas, M.D) recommend Gou Qi Zi both for hypoglycemic and blood lipid lowering effect.
During the Tang Dynasty in China, (around 800 AD), a well was dug in the shadow of a wall near a Buddhist temple, a wall covered in goji vines. The vine shed scores of berries into the well over the years. Many of the monks and pilgrims who prayed there and drank the well’s waters were blessed with robust health and maintained their teeth, hair color, and healthy complexions well into their eighties. As word of the fruit’s benefit spread, many visitors to the temple took goji vines with them to plant in the home valleys, spreading the vines throughout Tibet, China, and India.
In several study groups with elderly people the berry was given once a day for 3 weeks and the results showed that appetite improved in 95% of the patients, 95% of the patients slept better, and 35% of the patients partially recovered their sexual function. All of the patients spirit and optimism increased significantly.
The famed Li Qing Yuen, who lived to the age of 252 years (1678-1930), consumed Goji berries daily. The life of Li Qing Yuen is the most well-documented case of extreme longevity known. Li was a herbalist, and skilled in Chi Kung and spent much of his life in the mountain ranges. It is said that he changed his diet to consume little meat or root vegetables and limited his consumption of grain. Instead, he lived mainly on steamed above-ground vegetables and herbs, consuming both goji berries and panax ginseng on a daily basis.
According to May 2008 issue of “The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.”, a double-blind study of the effects of goji berry reported that consuming goji berries for 14 days may result in increased feelings of general well-being. Some people consuming goji berries reported increased energy levels, athletic performance, quality of sleep, ease of awakening, ability to focus on activities, mental acuity, calmness and feelings of health, contentment, and happiness as compared to those taking placebo.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- “Better Nutrition”; Goji Berries: Antioxidant Supreme; Jodi Helmer; September 2006.
- “Article Allery”; Dried Goji Berries; Kirk Bachelder; November 2006.
- “The Berry Doctor’s Journal”’ The Top 20 Superfruits: #5 Goji; Paul Gross; February 2010.
- Goji Capital.Com: The Goji Berry’s “Master Molecule” Polysaccharides
- “Environmental Nutrition”; Are Goji Berries Really the Healthiest Food on the Planet?; Ask EN; February 2010.