5 Ways Bright-Red Goji Berries Can Boost Your Health—Especially Immunity

These red, raisin-looking berries are teeming with vitamin C and tons more antioxidants.


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You’re familiar with blueberries and strawberries, and probably even acai berries and elderberries—but have you ever tried goji berries? These tiny fruits, which are typically eaten dried, boast a sweet-and-sour flavor that’s like a party for your taste buds. Goji berries are native to China, where they’re traditionally used in soups and teas—though you can enjoy them in preparations like smoothies, granola, cereal, and trail mix as well. (This recipe for Nutty Superfood Breakfast Bites includes 3/4 cup of goji berries for tart sweetness and, of course, its amazing healthy benefits!)

And get this: Bright red goji berries are so nutritious they’ve been added to the list of bonafide “superfoods,” along with the more familiar types of berries you already know and love. We asked dietitians about all the impressive health benefits of goji berries, and why they’re so good for you. Check out what they had to say, below.

Health Benefits of Goji Berries

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Goji berries contain carotenoids to promote eye health.

If you’re looking for a tasty way to support your peepers, carrots aren’t your only option: Reach for goji berries, too. These bite-size fruits are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are carotenoids, which are antioxidant plant pigments that give vegetables and fruits (like goji berries) their vibrant, red-orange color. Specifically, carotenoids fight oxidative stress and inflammation involved in eye damage, according to registered dietitian Joanna Foley, RD. In fact, a 2021 study in the journal Nutrients found that adults who regularly ate goji berries had a lower risk for age-related macular degeneration, a top cause of blindness.

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Goji berries are rich in antioxidants like vitamins C and E.

If you’re on a mission to eat more antioxidants, goji berries can help you out there. In addition to lutein and zeaxanthin, goji berries offer antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and lycopene, just to name a few compounds.

“In fact, goji berries contain more antioxidants than other common fruits such as kiwi, raspberries, and oranges,” Foley says. This is worth calling out because antioxidants fight free radicals, or unstable molecules that can build up in cells due to smoking cigarettes, environmental pollution, stress, and more. Over time, high levels of free radicals can lead to chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, or type 2 diabetes—but eating plenty of antioxidants (from goji berries or otherwise) can help decrease the risk of disease.

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Goji berries contain fiber for gut health.

Fruits in general are some of the best sources of fiber, and goji berries are no exception. According to the USDA, just 5 tablespoons of dried goji berries contain nearly 4 grams of fiber, which is more than what’s found in 1 cup of strawberries. This is great news for your gut, which relies on fiber for bulking up stool and promoting regularity.

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Goji berries may help manage blood sugar.

Although more research is needed, there’s some evidence that goji berries are a food that can help control blood sugar. For example, one small study found that polysaccharides (a type of carbohydrate) in goji berries reduced blood glucose in folks with type 2 diabetes. The goji berry polysaccharides were also found to increase the insulinogenic index, or stimulation of insulin production, according to Amy Moyer, M.Ed, RDN, LDN, CCMS, registered dietitian and assistant professor University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This is key because insulin is a hormone that helps the body manage blood sugar. Animal studies have also found that goji berries have a glucose-lowering effect in rats and mice, but more research in humans is needed.

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Goji berries have immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin C.

“Goji berries are high in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals [with] antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which fight free radicals and strengthen the immune system,” explains Moyer. This includes nutrients like vitamin C and zinc, both of which are needed for key cellular pathways involved in immunity. In fact, 5 tablespoons of goji berries offers more than 15 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C for women. Vitamin C also helps white blood cells find and destroy harmful germs, ultimately keeping cells healthy and well.

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