The Effects of Goji Berries

The goji berry, or wolfberry, is becoming very popular because of its nutrient and antioxidant value. This "super fruit" is grown in China and the United Kingdom and has most recently been popping up in U.S. stores such as Trader Joes, where it is sold in a trail mix. Although the goji berry is just being heard about in the United States, Chinese doctors have been using it for centuries in herbal health medicines to treat people for numerous maladies. It can be eaten raw, dried and cooked, and it is used in juices, teas and other drinks and holds numerous health benefits. The goji berry does carry some side effects, so check with your doctor before taking it to make sure that it doesn't cause any reactions to medicine you are taking.

Boost Your Immune System

The goji berry is referred to as a super fruit for the plain reason that it is jam-packed with essential nutrients and vitamins. The immune system is built to protect us against un-wanted invaders in our bodies. If our immune system is weak, we are more likely to get sick. Goji berries contain polysaccharides, essential in helping the body maintain a healthy and functioning immune system. They also contain vitamin C and zinc, both of which are used to protect against diseases and speed up the recovery process from when you do get sick. Goji berries are also used for patients being treated with cancer, and studies have shown that they help boost the immune system and keep patients healthier, longer.

Anti-Aging Benefits

In the small region of Ningxia Hui in Northern China, there are 16 times as many centenarians--people over the age of 100--as the rest of China. Doctors believe this is from goji berries. In the Ningxia region, goji berries are eaten on a daily basis. Not only do its residents live longer, but as they age they become more active and full of life instead of living sedentary lifestyles. What is in the goji berry that makes it an anti-aging "wonder"? Goji is rich in potassium and amino acids. Potassium is a crucial mineral in our body--it plays a role in our skeletal and smooth muscle contraction, and helps the heart function. Low potassium prevents the pituitary gland from producing growth hormone, which the amino acids assist in making. l-glutamine and l-arginine are two amino acids found in goji, and both of these combine to help to produce more growth hormone and retain a young appearance.

Lose Weight

As we age, our body starts to produce less and less energy. That leads to muscle deterioration and our body storing more fat. Eating goji berries on a regular basis leads to more energy. More energy means more exercising. Not only does it promote lean muscle growth, it improves your physical performance and aids in the muscle recovery process. Dieting is also made easier with the goji berry. It helps control your appetite and contains B1 and calcium, two nutrients that help convert food into energy, rather than storing it in your body as fat. A berry that reduces stress, gives energy and protects against cancer? It makes you wonder why everyone isn't eating goji berries.

Keywords: goji berry, berries, effects

About this Author

Although born and raised in Southern California, Kristin Kosearas has traveled far and wide. Kosearas caught the travel bug after graduating from UC Irvine with a degree in political science, and those experiences are embedded in her writing, found in several school publications and for eHow via Demand Media. She also has work experience in education and the beauty industry.