Goji berries are now widely available in many health food and specialty food stores, although they used to be available only in Asian groceries. Used in Chinese medicine for over 6,000 years, goji berries are most commonly sold dried, although there are now goji berry juices and extracts. Touted for their antioxidant properties, goji berries supposedly boost your immune system, improve your brain function, increase your life expectancy and reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, although high-quality studies are lacking. Full of nutrients, goji berries are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and dietary fiber.
Calories, Protein and Dietary Fiber
A 1/4 cup serving of goji berries contains 90 calories and 4 grams of protein per serving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adult women consume 46 grams and adult men 56 grams of protein per day. It also contains 4 grams of dietary fiber, which provides between 10.5 and 19 percent of the dietary reference intake for dietary fiber for adult men and women. According to Colorado State University Extension, most adults do not receive enough dietary fiber each day. Dietary fiber is important as it helps preventing overeating by making you feel full and also helps your body pass waste through your system by adding bulk to your stools.
Antioxidant Vitamin A
A 1/4 cup serving of goji berries contains 180 percent of your daily value of vitamin A. A natural antioxidant, vitamin A protects your body from damage from free radicals, produced when your body breaks down food. Free radicals can speed up the aging process and can cause cell death and damage. Vitamin A is also necessary for keeping your mucous membranes healthy, as well as helping your cells reproduce. Vitamin A deficiency is often indicated by poor vision, as vitamin A is needed for good eyesight.
Collagen-Building Vitamin C
Also a natural antioxidant, vitamin C slows down the aging process and reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease by defending your body against free radicals. Vitamin C is also used in the production of collagen, which makes skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels healthy. It also aids in the healing of wounds and in the repair and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. A 1/4-cup serving of goji berries has 30 percent of the daily value of vitamin C.
Iron can be found in every cell in your body and is an essential mineral as it is needed to make blood cells. It is used to produce hemoglobin and myoglobin, two proteins that carry oxygen throughout your body. An iron deficiency will cause anemia, which can cause dizziness, weight loss, tiredness and shortness of breath. A 1/4-cup serving of goji berries provides you with 15 percent of the daily value of iron.
- MyFitnessPal: Goji Berry
- National Health Service: Do Goji Berries Deserve Their A-List Status?
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin A (Retinol)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- MedlinePlus: Iron in Diet
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fiber
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein