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Do Goji Berries Help Lower Blood Sugar?

By Janet Renee

A number of fruits and their juices are marketed for proposed therapeutic benefits, with goji berry being among them. No one food is a magic bullet to vibrant health, however. The totality of your diet is what matters. There is experimental evidence that suggests the goji berry promotes healthy blood sugar. As long as you're not allergic, adding goji berries to your diet is a beneficial way to get a wider variety of fruits into your current rotation. Never change your diet or medication regimen without your doctor's permission if you have diabetes.

Nutrients in Goji Berry

Like other fruits, goji berry is nutrient-dense, containing minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, selenium and calcium, as well as vitamin C and vitamin B-2. It's also rich in beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and zeaxanthin -- vitamin A-like compounds called carotenoids. Carotenoids are responsible for the yellow, orange and red pigments of fruits and vegetables. While there is no specific recommended intake of carotenoids, these substances do contribute to health. You get about half your daily vitamin A requirement from beta-carotene and other carotenoids, for example.

Goji Berry and Blood Sugar

Human studies examining the blood sugar-lowering effect of goji are lacking. Scientists have experimented in animals and test tubes to evaluate hypoglycemic potential, however. One study found goji fruit extract significantly lowered not only blood sugar but also total cholesterol and triglycerides in rabbits with high blood sugar. Researchers found goji berry polysaccharides -- long-chain carbohydrates -- played a major role in its blood sugar-lowering properties. The study was published in the November 2004 issue of the journal "Life Sciences."

Adding Goji Berry to Your Diet

Goji berries look similar to raisins, are equally chewy and have a rich red color. They taste slightly tart like cranberries, with a hint of sweetness like cherry. Most goji berries you find at grocery stores are sold as dried berries. You can add them to your diet in a variety of ways, such as blending them with smoothies, adding them to trail mix and sprinkling them onto your cereal. If you enjoy baking, add goji berries to your muffin mix, scones and breads.

Managing Your Blood Sugar

If you have high blood sugar -- a complication of diabetes -- work with your doctor to develop a healthy, well-balanced diet to keep your blood sugar within your target range. Some people may need the addition of medication to get their blood sugar under control. Because carbohydrates raise blood sugar, people with high blood sugar must take care to choose healthy carbs, such as those that contain fiber. Some examples of healthy carbs include fruits, vegetables, beans and other legumes, along with whole-wheat pasta and whole-grain cereal.

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