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Goji Berry Benefits for Diabetes - Article
Goji Berry Benefits for Diabetes - Article

Goji Berry Benefits for Diabetes - Article
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Benefits of Goji Berry on Diabetes

By: Ayisatu J. Taylor

LifeSource Vitamins

More than 8 percent of the U.S. population has been diagnosed with diabetes. With the prevalence of obesity in America, millions of people are at risk for developing diabetes. The chronic condition has potential life-threatening complications and is believed to have affected humans for centuries. In recent years, many people have turned to alternative medicines and "superfruits" like goji berries to treat their conditions and diseases.


1. Diabetes is a medical condition that affects more than 23 million Americans. Identified by continuous abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood because the body fails to produce sufficient insulin or the body's cells resist using the insulin produced.

While there are various forms of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2 are generally diagnosed the most. Type 1 diabetes is when cells of the pancreas fail to produce an amount of insulin needed to allow blood glucose to enter cells to produce energy. Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed when the cells resist insulin's action, resulting in too much glucose in the blood.


2. Goji berries, also called wolfberry, are found in the moderate to sub-tropic regions of Asia, including China, Mongolia, and in the Himalayas of Tibet. The origin of the word goji is believed to come from the simplified Mandarin word for the plant. Similar to other nightshade family plants like tomatoes and chili peppers, wolfberry is a flowering plant that produces a berry that tastes like a cross between a raspberry and a cherry. In southern regions of China, goji berry plants are generally more than 3 feet tall, but in northern China, the plants can grow to more than 9 feet.

3. While they are closely related and both are in the genus Boxthorn (Lycium), Himalayan goji berries (Lycium barbarum) should not be confused with Chinese wolfberry (Lycium chinense). The two species of the wolfberry plant (the names have little to do with the geographies of the species), are both rich in antioxidants and are thought to be beneficial in boosting the immune system and promoting longevity.


4. A perennial that produces flowers with five petals, the goji berry plant produces an oblong, red-orange berry--containing 10 to 60 tiny seeds--that is normally 1 to 2 centimeters long. Ripening in the northern hemisphere usually occurs from mid-summer to mid-fall.


5. For more than 6,000 years, herbalists and alchemists have used goji berries to make tonics and teas to boost the immune system, protect the liver from damaging toxins and disease, improve circulation (particularly in the legs), increase fertility, and promote longevity.

Studies have shown that goji berries are rich in antioxidants, specifically carotenoids, which are known to protect the retina of the eye and believed to decrease the risk of developing macular degeneration, a disease associated with complications from diabetes. Goji berries have also been found to help increase circulation and are believed to be beneficial in preventing and treating a number of cardiovascular diseases, including angina and coronary heart disease. Studies have also shown that goji berries stimulate the nervous system (responsible for all internal organs) and causes relaxation of arterial walls, allowing them to expand and lower blood pressure.


6. Goji berries have been proclaimed by proponents of alternative medicine as the "superfruit" that can decrease the risk of developing diabetes, in addition to treating those who already have it. However, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to verify and approve these claims. Studies also suggest that goji berries (consumed as tea) may hinder anticoagulant metabolism and may react with certain medications. It important to consult with health care providers before consuming anything that may have a negative reaction with other medications.

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