“Superfoods” is a term that we often here within the health and fitness sphere. Usually, it’s just a marketing gimmick, with the foods that claim to have superpowers because they are so dense and rich in nutrients. The Harvard Medical School lists several foods that can be considered “super”, although goes on to add that they alone can’t provide the nutritional content we need to sustain ourselves, but instead should be consumed as part of a balanced diet.
The list includes fish, leafy greens, nuts and berries. And there is one berry in particular that you should really consider adding to your diet; the goji berry. It has been grown in China for centuries and is often referred to as “the red diamond”.
The Chinese have used the little red berries within traditional medical practices for many years, as they are believed to have many health benefits, including boosting liver and kidney function, as well as being crucial in supporting eye health and helping you live longer.
Before you conclude that the benefits of goji berries, and Chinese medicine in general, is a load of crap, take note that there are in fact a number of studies that support the claims.
Amagase & Nance conducted a study in 2008 in which two groups were randomly formed. One group was asked to consume 120 ml of goji juice, while the other group was given a placebo drink. After the 14-day trial period, participants were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 5, their feelings of general wellbeing, as well as having various body analysis measurements taken.
The group that consumed the goji juice recorded a significant increase in energy levels, athletic performance, quality of sleep and a general feeling of happiness. The group also exhibited a decrease in stress levels and lower levels of fatigue. The placebo group also showed an increase in happiness, but parametric data (body weight, body mass, etc.) showed no changes.
The researchers concluded that goji berries can have a significant impact on human health.
Another study conducted by Chen et al. looked into the effects goji berries can have in fighting cancer. The researchers found that LBP (Lycium barbarum polysaccharides, the primary active ingredient in goji berries) displayed antitumor activities and were even found to inhibit tumor growth in mice. But of course, as with any study, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits.
Still, the signs are positive, and goji berries are food you should definitely consider picking up next time you take a trip to the supermarket.
That’s it for now; see you all the next time.