With a list of benefits that spans everything from aiding muscle growth to fighting cancer, these bright red Himalayan berries take top spot when it comes to keeping you healthy, and studies have shown that consuming them on a regular basis can help improve athletic performance. Here’s how these tiny superfruits can benefit you:
1. A complete source of protein
Ditch the animal protein for a far healthier option. Goji berries are unique among fruits, since they contain all the essential amino acids. They also have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit – about 1g of protein per tablespoon – and one of the polysaccharides found in goji berries is a powerful secretagogue, stimulating the secretion of human growth hormone by the pituitary gland.
2. Cold and flu-fighting powerhouse
Goji berries contain high levels of the antioxidants vitamin C and A, both critical to building immunity and preventing colds and flu from striking you down. They also contain powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds. A strong immune system means less chance of getting sick, which means less time spent off the bike.
3. Easy on the eyes
One of the biggest concerns for those who enjoy long outdoor rides is protecting the eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Goji berries are rich in the carotenoid zeaxanthin, whose key function is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light and acting as an antioxidant. Consuming goji berries may, therefore, help decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 65.
4. Healthy mind, healthy body
Betaine is a phytonutrient found in abundance in goji berries with a wide range of functions in the body, including calming nervousness, enhancing memory, promoting muscle growth and protecting against fatty liver disease. Since most cyclists will admit that half the battle is a mental one (endurance cycling is not just a test of the body!), it helps to have a little something to put you in good spirits.
5. Helpful healer
Beta-sitosterol is another phytochemical found in high concentrations in goji berries. It works to reduce inflammation and could play a role in helping reduce your chances of cancer, arthritis, allergies, and premature ageing. It also helps lower cholesterol levels.
In fact, goji berries are just generally good for you. A study conducted by FreeLife International evaluated the general effects of consuming goji berries on feelings of well-being, neurological characteristics and overall body system complaints. Following the 15-day experiment, significant increases in energy, athletic performance, sleep quality, focus, and happiness were reported by the group that consumed goji berries. They also reported a significant improvement in gastrointestinal regularity. The placebo group did not report these improvements. Researchers concluded that daily consumption of goji berries may improve overall well-being, and improve psychological performance and gastrointestinal functions.
HIGH5 has harnessed the phenomenal capabilities of this tiny superfruit in their newest addition to the range: the ProteinSnack bar, which packs 12g of protein along with goji berries, Brazil nuts and chia seeds. Click here to read more about the nutrition and science behind the bar, and to find out where you can get your hands on one.