Goji berries: your guide to the benefits of these nutrient packed fruits for exercise and health

Goji berries – also commonly referred to as Lycium fruits – are a small but vibrant produce native to the Northwest regions of China. For centuries, these small nutrient dense fruits have been used in Chinese herbal remedies due to notions that they are capable of improving the health of one’s eyes, kidneys and liver. More recently, they’ve been labelled as a “superfood” in western countries due to their seamless balance of macronutrients – 46% carbohydrate, 16% fiber, 13% protein and 1.5% fat1 – with micronutrients that are known to reduce inflammation, oxidative stress and even the growth of cancer cells. But, I hear you say, “how do these little berries work?” and “why is this important for my endurance endeavours?”. Well, brew yourself a mug of Goji berry tea, pick up a Goji berry filled Everest Everyday Superfood Chocolate Bar and read on…

When you exercise – whether it be summitting your first ever peak, finishing a marathon, racing in a triathlon or… walking your four-legged friends – you breathe in more ambient air, your blood flow increases, and your muscles consume oxygen, fat and/or glucose for energy.

Even in the best recreational athletes, this process isn’t perfect. For example, the mitochondria – often referred to as the industrial powerhouse of the muscle cell – releases molecules called reactive oxygen species (or, ROS) that damage the surrounding proteins, fats and DNA causing inflammation. Whilst it is damage such as this that allows us to adapt and become stronger, fitter and healthier; it also means we become fatigued and breaking this cycle through nutrition is essential to Beat the Bonk!

 

Goji Berries increase the concentration of antioxidants in your blood

 

 

 

Goji berries are full of micronutrients

Now, I know what you’re thinking… “can a little fruit from China really break this complex physiological cycle?”. Yes, because Goji berries are full of micronutrients – including, but not limited to, polysaccharides, polyphenols, flavonoids and carotenoids – that are scientifically-proven to directly act as an antioxidant2 whilst also increasing the antioxidant content of human blood by up to 57%3. These antioxidants act through donating electrons to ROS, which renders them stable and prevents them from harming surrounding tissues.

Research has shown that increasing the antioxidant capacity of the blood during exercise – through nutritional intervention – improves blood flow to the working muscles, optimises energy production using oxygen, reduces muscle damage and soreness, and even improves exercise performance4. So, before you head out for your next adventure, make sure you fuel it with our Everest Endurance bar that is formulated with a blend of Goji berries and delicious dark chocolate.

 

Goji Berries foods that help beat the bonk

 

Goji berries increase the concentration of antioxidants in your blood

While we have spoken a lot about how Goji berries will help you achieve your endurance goals; there is also plenty of reasoning why to include this delicious little fruit into your everyday diet. Increasing the concentration of antioxidants in your blood is associated with a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease and cancer5.

Research studies have even shown that culturing breast cancer cells with Goji berry extracts directly reduces the growth and proliferation of cancer6. Though – like many ingredients included within traditionally herbal remedies – more research needs to be undertaken to fully understand how these miraculous little berries can facilitate a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle; we have incorporated Goji berries into our Everest Everyday Superfood Chocolate Bar for a delicious and convenient healthy snack to keep you fuelled throughout the daily grind.

Article written by: Adam Causer

 

Reference List

  1. Ma ZF, Zhang H, Teh SS, et al. Goji Berries as a Potential Natural Antioxidant Medicine: An Insight into Their Molecular Mechanisms of Action. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019;2019:1-9. doi:10.1155/2019/2437397
  2. Islam T, Yu X, Badwal TS, Xu B. Comparative studies on phenolic profiles, antioxidant capacities and carotenoid contents of red goji berry (Lycium barbarum) and black goji berry (Lycium ruthenicum). Chem Cent J. 2017;11(1):59. doi:10.1186/s13065-017-0287-z
  3. Bucheli P, Vidal K, Shen L, et al. Goji Berry Effects on Macular Characteristics and Plasma Antioxidant Levels. Optom Vis Sci. 2011;88(2):257-262. doi:10.1097/OPX.0b013e318205a18f
  4. Powers SK, Jackson MJ. Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress: Cellular Mechanisms and Impact on Muscle Force Production. Physiol Rev. 2008;88(4):1243-1276. doi:10.1152/physrev.00031.2007
  5. Aune D. Plant Foods, Antioxidant Biomarkers, and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, and Mortality: A Review of the Evidence. Adv Nutr. 2019;10(Supplement_4):S404-S421. doi:10.1093/advances/nmz042
  6. Georgiev KD, Slavov IJ, Iliev IA. Antioxidant Activity and Antiproliferative Effects of Lycium barbarum’s (Goji berry) Fractions on Breast Cancer Cell Lines. Folia Med (Plovdiv). 2019;61(1):104-112. doi:10.2478/folmed-2018-0053