Health

Goji Berries “Superfood” under consideration: advantages and disadvantages

Health-conscious people rely on food or dietary supplements with goji berries out of conviction. The fruit, which actually originates from China, is said to be very rich in antioxidants, slow down aging processes and even protect against cancer. Fans of the berry celebrate the almost medicinal properties. However, there are a few things to keep in mind, especially if you are on medication or are pregnant.

Goji berries owe their reputation as a “superfood” to a number of valuable ingredients. Contains vitamins, phytochemicals, minerals, trace elements and even fatty acids. Additionally, goji berries score with their protein content of around 15.6 percent (which is amazing for fruit). The beauty industry has already discovered the exotic “superfood” for itself. Thanks to their antioxidants, goji berries not only strengthen the immune system and protect against pathological cell changes, but also slow down the aging processes (of the skin). In summary, goji berries are true bombs of healthy ingredients – and therefore have been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for a long time. But what do medical studies say about goji berry and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

According to a study, goji berries are good for the eyes

Goji berries are said to be good for the eyes, according to a 2021 study from the University of California. The study involved 27 people between the ages of 45 and 65. For 90 days, 13 subjects ate 28 grams of goji berries five times a week, and 14 participants received a dietary supplement containing lutein and zeaxanthin.

The results have been quite promising. Because regular consumption of small portions of the “superfood” should help delay or even prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a chronic disease that occurs mainly in metabolic disorders. Visual impairment is usually the result. The researchers found that macular pigment optical density (MPOD) increased with consumption. Put simply, macular pigment acts as a protective shield for visual cells and absorbs blue light, among other things, which is harmful to the eyes. It also provides antioxidant protection from harmful UV rays.

During the study period, 13 participants received goji berries, while 14 subjects received the dietary supplement. The researchers concluded that protective pigments increased significantly in the goji berry group, but no changes were found in the other group.

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Not recommended for diabetics and pregnant women

But there are also downsides to the goji berry. Scientists speak of a potential hypoglycemic effect and thus a warning for diabetics. Consuming goji berries can cause “your blood sugar to drop too low if you’re also taking diabetes medications.”2

It also says that mothers-to-be and breastfeeding should avoid eating goji berries. Not enough is known about the effects on pregnancy or the health of the baby. There is concern that the ingredients in the fruit may cause the uterus to contract, potentially leading to premature birth.

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Beware of high blood pressure therapy

The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) sends a well-founded warning to hypertensive patients, i.e. patients with high blood pressure.3 Because the simultaneous intake of goji berries and vitamin K antagonists (anticoagulant drugs, for example the common Marcumar preparation) can lead to “severe bleeding events”.

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The nutrition expert appoints the general goji hooks

FITBOOK teamed up with nutritionist Uwe Knopspoken. In addition to the dangers to risk groups, she also sees the drawbacks of goji berry, which could irritate non-predisposed people. Knop cites “a potential health hazard if you don’t know exactly where the berries came from, how they were processed and treated.” They are often contaminated with pollutants and germs.

Better: “Superfoods” from the region

The fact that it is often not known where (exactly) the alleged superfood comes from naturally leaves a certain “flavor” or negative ecological footprint. Knop also recommends buying and consuming local fruit, “preferably from the region from the farmer and trader you trust, because you know what you have”.

If you are interested in the antioxidant properties of goji berry, you should be well advised to go with black currant. Here it is the anthocyanin plant substance that is able to protect against cancer. In addition, black currant provides many vitamins, especially ascorbic acid, and our bone substance benefits from it, among other things.

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