Goji berries: anti-disease, anti-cancer, anti-ageing
Goji berry or wolfberry is the fruit of Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense.
Goji berries are a sweet-taste, dark-red coloured dried fruit, and mainly comes from north-western area of China. It has been grown and consumed in China for more than 6,000 years.
It is a common practice in Chinese medicine to prescribe it to treat liver, kidney, or eye diseases, along with other herbs. Chinese people also consume goji berries in their day-to-day lives, because they believe this red coloured berry can keep them healthy, young, and energetic.
These red berries are alleged to boost the immune system and brain activity, protect against heart disease and cancer, and improve life expectancy.
Goji berries contains many nutrients including
§ 18 amino acids including all 8 essential amino acids (essential amino acids makes Goji berries a healthy alternative for meeting your daily protein requirements), - Betaine (produces Choline in the liver, which helps detoxification processes there, calms nervousness, enhances memory, promotes muscle growth, and protects against fatty liver disease, protects DNA, provides methyl groups in the body's energy reactions and can help reduce levels of homocysteine, a prime risk factor in heart disease)
§ Vitamins – A (against skin damage, preserves night- vision, and boosts the immune system), C (29-148 mg/100g dried berries), B1, B2 – Riboflavin (1,3mg/100g dried berries), B3 - Nicotinic acid or Niacin (treat acne-prone skin, helps seal in moisture, smooth out wrinkles, and reduce sun damage), B6, E (prevent premature skin aging)
§ 21 trace elements – Iron (9 mg/100g dried berries), Copper, Sodium, potassium (1,132 mg/100g dried berries), Selenium (anti-cancer) (50 μg/100g dried berries), Zinc (2 mg/100g dried berries), Iodine, Manganese, Germanium (anti-cancer), etc.
§ Minerals – Calcium (112mg/100g of dried berries), Magnesium, Phosphorus
§ Sesquiterpenoids – Cyperone (benefits the heart and blood pressure, alleviates menstrual discomfort, and has been used in the treatment of cervical cancer), Solavetivone (anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent)
§ 8 polysaccharides (fortify the immune system) and 6 monosaccharides
§ 5 unsaturated fatty acids (essential fatty acids), Linoleic acid, Alpha-linolenic acid, Beta-sitosterol (anti-inflammatory, lowers cholesterol and has been used to treat sexual impotence and prostate enlargement) and other Phytosterols. (Essential fatty acids are required for the body's production of hormones and for the smooth functioning of the brain and nervous system)
§ Complete spectrum of antioxidant carotenoids (tetraterpenoids, organic pigments) - Beta-carotene (7 mg/100g dried berries), zeaxanthin (protects the retina of the eye not only by absorbing blue light but also as an antioxidant, reduce risk associated with macular degeneration) (2,4-82,4 mg/100g dried berries), Lutein (protects eyes), Physalin (natural compound that is active against all major types of leukemia. It has been shown to increase splenic natural killer cell activity in normal and tumor-bearing mice, with broad-spectrum anti-cancer effect. It has also been used as a treatment for hepatitis B) , Lycopene, Cryptoxanthin and Xanthophyll
§ Many phenolic pigments associated with antioxidant propertiesFor all of these reasons, it has become a well-known super fruit in the world.
Side Effects that we need to be aware of
Goji berries interact with diabetic, blood thinning and blood pressure medications. Due to its anti-coagulant property, goji berry interferes with medications like warfarin and can cause excessive bleeding.
It can cause hypotension or a drop in blood pressure in those taking blood pressure medications and for diabetic patients, it can reduce blood sugar levels and cause spells of fainting and dizziness.
Hence, anyone who suffers from these conditions must not take goji berries.
Atropine is found in differing quantities in goji berries. An excess of atropine can cause side effects like nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, eye discomfort in bright lights, and hallucinations in the elderly.
The high levels of selenium in goji berries could have an adverse effect on fetuses. Selenium causes birth defects, lowers sperm count and increases the chances of production of abnormal sperm. Hence, pregnant women or even those who are planning a pregnancy must avoid goji berries, although in small amounts they will not inflict harm to the child.
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