Goji Berry Benefits for Athletes
Also known as wolfberry, the goji berry is a tiny, oval-shaped, and bright reddish-orange fruit, similar to a raisin with a slightly sour flavor.
Goji berries are rich in vitamin C, minerals, amino acids, carotenoids, and polysaccharides, making them an antioxidant powerhouse.
They have numerous potential health benefits, ranging from fighting free radicals to boosting collagen formation.
Let's dive in...
GOJI BERRIES AND TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE
Nutrient-dense and similar in taste to cranberries and cherries, goji berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine since the 3rd century across regions like the Himalayas, Tibet, and Mongolia.
Known as the "red diamond"; TCM doctors used dried berries to boost liver and kidney functions which consequently improved eye health.
The Chinese also used goji berries to treat ailments such as:
- Eye Problems
- Dry Cough
Keep reading to learn more about goji berry and how it benefits your performance.
GOJI BERRY NUTRITIONAL CONTENT
High in vitamin C, fiber, iron, vitamin A, zinc, and antioxidants; there are many health benefits of goji berries.
Although tiny, goji berries pack a punch and are typically known to boost energy levels, stabilize blood sugar, improve good cholesterol, aid in weight loss, and support the immune system.
1/4 cup of dried goji berries contain:
- Calories: 70
- Sugar:12 grams
- Protein 9 grams
- Fiber: 6 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Vitamin A: 150%
- Copper: 84%
- Vitamin C: 27%
- Potassium: 21%
- Zinc: 15%
- Thiamine: 9%
HEALTH BENEFITS OF GOJI BERRIES FOR ATHLETES
Aside from medicine and herbal tonics, goji berries have ample health benefits in athletic performance, promoting increased oxygen consumption, endurance and stamina, and reduced fatigue for longer training.
4 WAYS GOJI BERRIES BENEFIT ATHLETES
- Improves Stamina and Endurance
- Boosts Muscle Growth
- Improves Blood Circulation and Oxygen Consumption
- Improves Eye Health
BOOSTS STAMINA AND ENDURANCE
The goji berry is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins, which help boost the body's stamina and endurance, which makes it a popular choice among athletes.
- Increases energy levels.
- Reduces recovery time.
- Delays muscle fatigue.
The goji berry can help increase energy levels, reduce recovery time, and delay muscle fatigue, meaning you can train harder and longer at a high level, hence increasing your speed, endurance, and overall skill for better results.
Intense physical activity can cause free radicals to damage cells and prolong recovery times. Antioxidants, on the other hand, can reduce free radicals. By taking antioxidants that combat these free radicals, you can reduce your recovery time.
The goji berry is rich in polysaccharides and antioxidants such as Vitamin A and carotenoids, which help fight free radicals in the body that can cause damage to cells and lead to fatigue.
Additionally, Goji Berry helps improve oxygen uptake, making it easier for the body to get the oxygen it needs during exercise.
MAY BOOST MUSCLE GROWTH AND STRENGTHEN BONES
The vitamins found in goji berries play an essential role in boosting muscle growth and strengthening bones.
Goji berries contain large amounts of niacin or vitamin B3, which is known for its muscle boosting properties.
Vitamin B3 increases muscle vascularity and testosterone production. B3 also helps to improve muscle repair, recovery times, and metabolism.
While oranges are considered an essential source of Vitamin C, goji berries have 500 times more potency.
Since Vitamin C plays such an essential role in the production of collagen, a vital structural protein found in your skeletal muscles, goji berries directly impact your body's ability to increase muscle mass and strengthen bones.
Lastly, the Vitamin C content found in goji berries acts as an antioxidant to help protect muscles against damage caused by oxidative stress.
Surprisingly, goji berries are high in calcium, which your muscles need in order to contract and perform.
IMPROVES BLOOD CIRCULATION AND OXYGEN CONSUMPTION
- Stimulates nitric oxide production.
- Supplies oxygen to the muscles.
- Clears away carbon dioxide and lactic acid.
- Protects cells from oxidative stress.
Goji berries are rich in polysaccharides, which stimulate nitric oxide production, a gas that widens blood vessels and increases blood flow throughout the body. This can help carry more oxygen to the muscles.
It also helps clear away some byproducts of exercise, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid, which might otherwise cause fatigue or soreness.
The super berry is also a good source of antioxidants, which protect cells from damage caused by oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to detoxify them. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells, leading to inflammation and tissue damage.
The antioxidants in goji berries can help protect cells from this damage and help improve the efficiency of the body’s oxygen metabolism.
Related: Protein Before Workout vs. After Workout: How to Get the Most Out of Your Protein Shake
IMPROVES EYE HEALTH
Goji berries improve eye health by:
- Reducing Inflammation
- Improving Blood Flow
- Protecting Against Free Radicals
Goji berries' vitamin content and antioxidant properties improve eye health by reducing inflammation, improving blood flow, and protecting from free radicals.
- Vitamin A
ANTHOCYANINS give goji berries their vibrant red color, helps to protect the retina from free radical damage while also protecting against UV damage, glaucoma, and cataracts.
ZEAXANTHINS, which are similar to anthocyanins, also protect the eyes from harmful UV rays.
Found in the retina, zeaxanthins protect the eyes from harmful blue light waves to reduce free radicals, inflammation, and the risk of eye disease.
VITAMIN A is essential for the cornea’s (the outer covering of the eye) function and the formation of the photopigment rhodopsin in the retina. Rhodopsin is needed for color perception and low-light vision.
BETA-CAROTENE slows down the effects of aging and helps to prevent dry eyes while supporting vision during the night.
HOW TO ADD GOJI BERRY TO YOUR DIET
- Goji Berry Supplements
- Goji Berry Juice
- Dried Goji Berries
GOJI BERRY SUPPLEMENTS
Goji berry supplements are typically found in these three forms.
- Dried Goji Berry Powder
- Goji Berry Capsules
- Goji Berry Juice
Dried goji berry powder can be sold individually or in sport supplements powders.
Typically you'll find goji berry powder added to plant protein powders as well as vegetable and fruit blends.
GOJI BERRY JUICE
Goji berry juice can be bought pre made or can be made at home if you have access to fresh berries.
DRIED GOJI BERRIES
One of the most popular ways to incorporate goji into one's diet is to add the dried berries to foods that you already eat.
Dried goji berries can be added to:
- Herbal Teas
- Granola, Trail Mix, and Energy Bars
- Baked Goods
- Oatmeal, Cereal, and Porridge
- Smoothies and Smoothie Bowls
- Soup, Pasta, and Rice Dishes
Basically, adding goji berries to your dishes is the icing on the cake.
You can add goji berries to any dish of your liking.
Goji berries are tiny berries that have ample benefits to your health and performance.
In addition to providing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, these berries may boost muscle growth, stamina, and endurance and improve oxygen consumption.