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10th February, 20213 min read

Do goji berries have any health benefits?

Medical reviewer:Dr Ann Nainan
Author:Claire Fielden
Last reviewed: 09/02/2021
Medically reviewed

All of Healthily's articles undergo medical safety checks to verify that the information is medically safe. View more details in our safety page, or read our editorial policy.

Also known as wolfberries, goji berries have been an ingredient in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. More recently, they’ve been hailed as a superfood – a type of food that can supposedly reduce our risk of chronic disease, slow down the ageing process and boost our health.

These small, brightly coloured, red-orange berries can be eaten dried, raw or cooked and are used medicinally in juices, wines and teas.

Why are goji berries believed to be good for us?

Goji berries are thought to be a type of adaptogen. This means that they adapt to what the body needs to deal with various health threats.

Goji berries are used traditionally for a variety of conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, fever and an eye condition called macular degeneration. You might have come across claims that goji berries also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, can improve immune function, help fight cancer, help with weight loss, boost mood and energy and are good for the skin and liver.

However, not many of these claims have been backed up by scientific evidence and it’s unclear whether goji berries deserve their superfood status.

Are goji berries nutritious?

Are goji berries nutritious?

Goji berries are rich in vitamin A, copper, selenium and vitamin C and also provide some protein and amino acids.

They also contain an antioxidant called zeaxanthin, often used in eye supplements, which is why it’s believed that goji berries could help prevent macular degeneration.

Are there any side effects to eating goji berries?

One reason to watch your goji berry intake is that they are high in sugar – 28g of goji berries contains 12.8g of sugar. This can quickly add up, so go easy on goji berries if you have diabetes or you’re watching your carbohydrate intake.

Goji berries don’t mix well with certain medicines, like blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin, diabetes medication and blood pressure medication. It’s best to speak to your doctor if you’re taking regular medication and want to start including goji berries in your diet.

Key points

  • goji berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years
  • while there are many claims that goji berries are good for a range of health conditions, there isn’t sufficient scientific evidence to support these claims
  • goji berries are rich in vitamin A, copper, selenium and vitamin C
  • goji berries are high in sugar
  • don’t eat goji berries if you’re taking blood-thinning medication, diabetes medication or blood pressure medication
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