Nutritional Benefits and Health Properties of Goji Berries

Jenn Hoskins
6th July, 2024

Nutritional Benefits and Health Properties of Goji Berries

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study analyzed goji berries (GB) from various locations in Serbia for their nutritional value and bioactive properties
  • GB are a rich source of dietary fiber and protein, with favorable fatty acid profiles
  • GB extracts showed antioxidant and mild antimicrobial activities, suggesting potential health benefits and industrial applications
The cultivation of goji berries (GB), the fruits of Lycium barbarum L., is expanding globally, including in Europe. A recent study conducted by the University of Belgrade[1] aimed to analyze the nutritional value, chemical composition, and in vitro biological activities of GB from various locations in Serbia. This study holds significance as it provides insights into the potential health benefits and industrial applications of GB, particularly in the context of their expanding cultivation. The study evaluated the proximate compositions of GB using standard methods, which included assessments of dietary fiber and protein content. Additionally, the mineral content was analyzed using inductively coupled plasma techniques. The fatty acid, sterol, and phenolic profiles were determined through gas- and liquid chromatography-based techniques coupled with flame-ionization, mass spectrometry, or diode array detection. Spectrophotometric methods were employed to assess the total content of phenolics, flavonoids, carotenoids, and polysaccharides. Methanol extracts from GB were examined for their antioxidant, enzyme inhibitory (α-amylase, α-glucosidase, acetylcholinesterase, and tyrosinase), and antibacterial activities. Despite significant variations among samples from different locations, the results confirmed that GB are a valuable source of dietary fiber and protein and are characterized by favorable fatty acid profiles. Phytochemical analysis revealed that β-sitosterol, Δ5-avenasterol, and 24-methyldesmosterol are the predominant sterols, while caffeic acid, gallic acid, quercetin, and rutin are the main phenols. The findings from this study align with previous research highlighting the bioactive properties of GB. For instance, earlier studies have shown that GB from Lycium barbarum are rich in phenolic compounds, carotenoids, organic acids, carbohydrates, and vitamins, contributing to their antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, prebiotic, and anticancer activities[2]. Another study emphasized the high levels of carbohydrates, phenolics, and antioxidant activities in Lycium barbarum compared to Lycium chinense[3]. These studies collectively underscore the nutritional and functional potential of GB. Furthermore, the study by the University of Belgrade demonstrated that all GB samples exhibited both antioxidant and mild antimicrobial activity. The antioxidant activity was assessed using in vitro methods, confirming the presence of compounds capable of scavenging free radicals. The enzyme inhibitory activity was dose-dependent, with IC50 values ranging from 1.68 to 6.88 mg/mL. This indicates the potential of GB extracts in managing conditions related to enzyme activity, such as diabetes (through α-amylase and α-glucosidase inhibition) and neurodegenerative diseases (through acetylcholinesterase inhibition). The study's findings support the promotion of GB cultivation in Serbia and suggest further investigations into their potential applications in various industries, including food, nutraceuticals, and pharmaceuticals. The presence of bioactive compounds such as β-sitosterol, Δ5-avenasterol, and 24-methyldesmosterol, along with phenolic acids like caffeic and gallic acid, enhances the nutritional and therapeutic value of GB. In conclusion, the research conducted by the University of Belgrade provides a comprehensive analysis of the nutritional and bioactive properties of GB from different locations in Serbia. The study's results, combined with previous findings, highlight the significant health benefits and industrial potential of GB, supporting their continued cultivation and utilization in various applications.

FruitsNutritionHealth

References

Main Study

1) Nutritional Value, Phytochemical Composition and Biological Activities of Lycium barbarum L. fruits from Serbia.

Published 3rd July, 2024

https://doi.org/10.1007/s11130-024-01208-4


Related Studies

2) Lycium barbarum Berries (Solanaceae) as Source of Bioactive Compounds for Healthy Purposes: A Review.

https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24054777


3) Chemical Properties, Fatty-Acid Composition, and Antioxidant Activity of Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum L. and Lycium chinense Mill.) Fruits.

https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox8030060



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