“Superfood” goji berries under control: advantages and disadvantages

Healthy-minded people rely on goji foods or supplements to believe in them. The fruit, which actually comes from China, is said to be very rich in antioxidants, slows down the aging process and even protects against cancer. Berry fans celebrate the almost healing properties. However, there are a few things to keep in mind, especially if you are taking medication or are pregnant.

Goji berries owe their reputation as “superfoods” to a number of valuable ingredients. It contains vitamins, phytochemicals, minerals, trace elements and even fatty acids. In addition, goji berries score with a protein content of about 15.6 percent (which is amazing for fruits). The cosmetics industry has already discovered an exotic “superfood” for itself. Thanks to their antioxidants, goji fruits not only strengthen the immune system and protect against pathological cellular changes, but also slow down (skin) the aging processes. In short, goji berries are real bombs of healthy ingredients – and that is why they have long been part of traditional Chinese medicine. But what do medical studies say about goji gooseberry and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

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

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

The results were quite promising. Indeed, regular consumption of small portions of “superfood” should help delay or even prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a chronic disease that occurs primarily in metabolic disorders. Visual impairments are usually the result. The researchers found that the optical density of the macular pigment (MPOD) increases with consumption. Simply put, the macular pigment serves as a protective shield for the visual cells and absorbs, among other things, blue light, which is harmful to the eyes. It also provides antioxidant protection against harmful UV radiation.

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

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Not suitable for diabetics and pregnant women

But goji also has its drawbacks. Researchers are talking about the potential effect of lowering blood sugar and thus a warning for diabetics. Eating gooseberries can cause “blood sugar to drop too low if you are also taking diabetes medication.”2

It also states that expectant and breastfeeding mothers should not eat gooseberries. There is insufficient information on any effects on pregnancy or the health of the baby. There are concerns that the components in the fruit could cause the uterus to contract, which could lead to premature birth.

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Beware of treating high blood pressure

The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) is sending a reasoned warning to hypertensives, patients with high blood pressure.3 Because concomitant intake of goji fruits and vitamin K antagonists (anticoagulants, such as regular Marcumar) can lead to “severe bleeding events”.

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A nutritionist names general goji hooks

FITBOOK has teamed up with nutritionist Uwe Knopspoken. In addition to the dangers for at-risk groups, he sees goji as a disadvantage that could irritate unimposed people. Knop mentions “a potential health risk if you don’t know exactly where the berries come 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 “taste” or negative ecological footprint. Knop also advises buying and consuming local fruit – “preferably from the region from a farmer and trader you trust because you know what you have.”

If you are interested in the antioxidant properties of goji gooseberry, you should choose black currants. Here it is an anthocyanin plant that is able to protect against cancer. In addition, blackcurrant provides many vitamins, especially ascorbic acid, which benefits our bone mass, among other things.

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