The most nutritious and antioxidant-rich superfood known to man.
Why are goji berries so good for you?
Goji berries, pronounced ‘go-gee’ are perhaps the most nutrient-rich fruit in existence.
They contain 18 kinds of amino acids (six times higher than bee pollen and more protein than whole wheat) which are the building blocks of protein, and include all 8 essential amino acids such isoleucine and tryptophan.
Goji berries also contain up to 21 trace minerals, including zinc, iron, copper, calcium, germanium, selenium and phosphorus
Goji berries are among the highest source of carotenoids of all known common foods or plants on Earth! They contain the complete spectrum of food antioxidant carotenoids, including betacarotene (a better source than even carrots) zeaxanthin and lutine (valued for their role in protecting the eyes). Goji berries contain 500 times the amount of vitamin C by weight than oranges, making them one of the richest sources of vitamin C on Earth. They are also packed with vitamins B1, B2, B6 and vitamin E. Mature goji’s contain about 11mg of iron per 100 grams as well as betasisterol (an anti-inflamatory agent that may also help in the treatment of hypertension), sesquiterpeniods (cyperone and solavetivone which contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties) tetraterpeniods and betaine (useful for improving liver function, aiding digestion and reputed to enhance memory). Goji berries also contain polysaccharides which fortify and support a healthy immune system. Polysaccharides are very large, long-chain sugar molecules that are nourishment for macrophages (large white blood cells) in the gut wall. The macrophages are then transported to other immune cells, setting off a chain of defensive events in our bodies. One polysaccharide found in goji berries has been found to be a powerful secretagogue (a substance that stimulates the secretion of rejuvenative human growth hormone by the pituitary gland).
The goji berry was rated the food with the highest antioxidant ability on the ORAC scale coming in at an amazing 3,472 ORAC units. The ORAC scale is a standardized test used by the US Department of Agriculture to measure the total antioxidant level in foods. ORAC stands for “Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity,” and the measurement is expressed as “ORAC units per 100 grams” of a given food. Further information about the ORAC scale and how some common foods measure-up compared to the super goji berries is available on our website.
Goji berries are also high in essential fatty acids, including linoleic acid in particular. These healthy omegas are required by the body for production of hormones and smooth functioning of the brain and nervous systems.
What are the benefits of goji berries?
In summary goji berries are packed full of proteins, minerals, antioxidants and omegas, all essential for good health. This makes them potentially excellent for:
- Boosting energy and general well being
- Fortifying and maintaining a healthy immune system
- Defending and fighting against many cancers
- Fighting heart disease (thanks to all the betacarotene!)
- Lowering cholesterol
- Maintaining healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Reducing blood glucose levels
- Improving eyesight, blurred vision and hearing
- Strengthening and supporting healthy liver and kidney function
- Strengthening bones and tendons
- Maintaining a healthy nervous system
- Protecting skin from sun damage (the betacarotene again!)
- Preventing morning sickness (used in the first trimester)
- Improving cellulite (referred to as a cellulite assasin by Dr Howard Murad, a top dermatologist)
- Assisting in weight loss
- Promoting happiness (it’s said a handful in the morning will make you happy all day!)
- Boosts sex drive / libido (known as a natural viagra)
- Enhancing fertility
- Full of anti-ageing properties (known as the fruit of longevity)
So what do goji berries look and taste like and where do they come from?
The goji berry is a vibrant deep-red, dried fruit about the same size as a current or raisin. The goji berry has a sweet taste, with a slight tartness, we say they are like a cross between a cranberry and a cherry. Goji berries are grown predominantly in the hills of northwest China and Tibet in some of the purest soils on Earth. They come from the Lycium plant which grow like bushes with vines that reach over 15 feet. The berries grow to about the size of a grape and are then shaken onto mats and dried in the shade. They are never touched by hand before they are dried as they will oxidize and turn black.
Goji berries have a 2000 year plus history and are a traditional food used widely in Tibet and Mongolia, a population generally free of arthritis, diabetes, obesity and cancer. Goji berries have long been regarded in the Orient as an anti-aging, longevity, strength building and sexual potency superfood. They have also been used widely in tradtional Chinese folk medicine for several thousand years. Tibetan monks cherish this sacred berry so much that every year they hold a two-week traditional celebration to honour the berries. Here they are considered fundamental to a long and happy life.
One of the most well-documented cases of extreme longevity known is of Li Qing Yuen, who apparently lived to the age of 252 years (1678-1930). Li Qing Yuen is said to have consumed goji berries daily. Many Chinese studies have since suggested that goji berries do have anti-ageing properties.
How can goji berries be eaten?
Goji Berries can be used in many ways. Like other dried fruits, goji berries can be added to smoothies, nuts and seeds, trail mix, muesli, breakfast cereals, porridge and yoghurt. Or, simply eat by the handful as they are, as a wonderful nutritious and healthy snack! Although they are best eaten in their raw state to maintain potency, they can also be used as an ingredient in cakes, cookies, snack bars etc or made into a delicious tea. We like to soak them in different juices. A 10-30g serving (a small handful) is recommended as a good daily intake, although you can eat as many as you like! Try them and see how much healthier and happier you feel! We’re sure you’ll be back for more!