Considered a healing food in traditional Chinese medicine, Goji berries – red nutrient-dense fruits – have been enjoyed for over 5,000 years. In Tibet there are even yearly celebrations held in Goji’s honor. Goji Berries have been used to increase longevity and physical as well as mental health in general. Goji berries are sweet, chewy, dried berries with a unique fruity flavour similar to dried cherries. They are also known as wolfberries.
This rather unknown fruit to the West, until recently, is now taking over our supermarket shelves, nut mixes, cereal etc. There’s a good reason why: the health benefits of Goji berries are abundant. They contain eight essential amino acids. A simple 115 gram serving provides around 10 % of your daily recommended intake of protein. For fruit, this is a considerable amount of protein. They are also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A and C, fibre, iron, zinc, phosphorus and riboflavin (B2) and beta-carotene.
Moreover, Goji berries have high levels of antioxidants, especially zeaxanthin, which gives Goji berries their bright colour. Antioxidants protect body cells against breaking down when they are exposed to the elements, also working as anti-aging agents.
As a result of their vast health properties, Eastern Medicine, in particular Tibetan and Chinese, include these berries in the treatment of multiple conditions.
Potential weight loss aid
Goji berries are packed with healthy food energy in small servings. Their nutrition value as a low-calorie, low-sugar and high fibre option makes them a suitable substitute to other dried fruits, preventing you from overindulging at mealtimes.
Due to their antioxidant properties, Goji berries also help in maintaining and improving eyesight. The antioxidants protect the eye from free radicals that may cause loss of eyesight, cataracts, and other eye-related diseases.
Maintain blood sugar & diabetes control
If you love sweet foods, Goji berries may be your new best friend: Goji berries possess considerable hypoglycaemic properties and can help to potentially lower blood sugar, improve sugar tolerance, alleviate insulin resistance, as well as improve and recover cells that help produce insulin. The carbohydrates in Goji berries are complex, meaning your blood sugar levels will rise slowly, reducing your risk of a sugar crash afterwards.
Healthy body and digestion & Insomnia treatment
The health benefits of Goji berry also include general wellbeing and a healthy body. Consumption of Goji berries enhances and improves gastrointestinal functions, reduces stress and fatigue and enhances our quality of sleep. Furthermore, they have shown to improve neurological and psychological performance.
Goji berries are loaded with beta-carotene, which helps promote healthy skin. They are even used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis.
Goji berries have not only been eaten as food, the Chinese also use them to treat cancer in their traditional medicine due to their anti-cancerous properties. For instance, Germanium in Goji berries is said to reduce the growth of tumours.
Goji berries have a long history tied to sexual fertility, increasing sperm quantity and movement, shortening erection, capture, and ejaculation response as well as improving sexual ability and recovery of testosterone levels. Research suggests that Goji berries could be an alternative remedy for erectile dysfunction like Viagra.
Apart from the above mentioned applications, Goji Berries are also used in treating kidney and liver problems, depression, allergies, tuberculosis, to lower cholesterol and cleanse the blood, to name a few.
How to enjoy them
Eating two or more servings of fruit a day is usually recommended for a balanced health. Providing a welcome change from the other fruits or berries that you regularly eat, and if you’re looking for a new nutritious food to add to your diet, Goji berries may be a goof choice for you. Their health benefits seem to be particularly helpful for older adults, as they strengthen the immune system and increase vitality.
You can eat Goji berries as a healthy snack or add them to oatmeal, granola, cookies, cereal and trail mix. Goji berries also taste great cooked with meats, adding sweetness to hearty dishes.
Last but not least, make sure to buy your Goji berries from a reputable source, even if it is more expensive. Avoid any Goji berries that contain sulphites.
The Author: Julia Heller
Julia is a healthy food enthusiast. She encourages you to dig deeper and understand what it means to eat a healthy diet and live a balanced life.