The Mystical Goji Berry
Although the name goji berry may sound like something out of an Eastern cookbook (as well it should), the medicinal and health benefits of this little berry is actually its most renowned feature. Unique among fruits because of its dense amino acid and protein content, the highest of any fruit on earth, the goji berry also packs in a host of other minerals that make them highly sought after for cooking and medicine alike. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at goji berry health benefits and how you can add them to your lifestyle.
Goji Berry Health Benefits
As mentioned, the goji berry has the highest concentration of amino acids and protein of any fruit on Earth, but here are a few other facts about the humble berry:
- Goji berries are high in fiber.
- Loaded with vitamin C.
- Contain 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach.
- Goji berries contain large amounts of calcium, zinc and selenium along with other trace minerals
Not only that, this little superfruit contains natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds. This has earned it a place of honor among traditional Chinese medical practitioners as a go-to source for increasing strength and longevity.
As a Cancer Fighter:
Goji berry health benefits have been tied directly to fighting cancer, it’s antioxidant rich composition shows that they can help prevent the growth of new cancer cells, reduce blood glucose and lower cholesterol levels when consumed in their natural form.
Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. One of zeaxanthin’s key roles is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light and acting as an antioxidant. In fact, increased intake of foods containing zeathanthin may decrease the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 65.
Obtaining Goji Berries
It needs to be stated that while many Asian food stores and supermarkets sell them, they are usually grown in commercial growing regions located in China and Tibet which means they will undoubtedly contain a great deal of pesticides and chemical based fertilizers. Unfortunately, with loose regulations in the country, even packages marked Organic may not be.
There are many websites that sell them as well, however a little due diligence and some research before committing to a purchase can help you make the right choice.
Preparing Goji Berries
Gojis are most commonly available in dried form, and make a great snack eaten as is, added to trail mix, muesli or oatmeal. They can also be soaked for a couple of hours in enough water to cover them. Then the soak water can be drained off and makes a fruity drink, or both water and berries can be added to smoothies.
Things to Consider
As mentioned, the goji berry health benefits may seem numerous at first glance, and they are, but there are some drawbacks. The aforementioned issue with pesticides being one of them. Because of the nature in which the berry works to reduce clotting and thins out the blood, those taking anticoagulant drugs may have their blood thinned out too much that it will increase the risk of bleeding, making it potentially dangerous.
Goji berries have also been shown to interact with diabetes and blood pressure meditation, so consulting your doctor before partaking of nature’s most diverse and nutrient rich berry is strongly advised.