The tiny little fruit known as the goji berry is grown in several countries, but primarily China. About the size of a pinky finger tip, these orange-red gems have been a part of Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Besides being an effective herbal plant for medicine purposes, this is a delicious berry comprising many nutrients and can be eaten in several ways with substantial health benefits.
Designated the name desert thorn, matrimony vine, Wolfberry and gou qi zi (its Chinese name), the goji berry is often damaged when they are picked, so they are normally dried for preservation prior to exporting. Compared to eating raisins, goji berry plants thrive in extreme or cold climates. Considered as an herb as well as a fruit, the goji berry has been used in conventional Chinese medicine to control high blood pressure, diabetes, high-altitude induced fatigue and eye problems due to aging.
Affiliated with nightshade or the Solanaceae plant, the red berries offer many antioxidants that improve one’s general health and well-being. It is well known that antioxidants are vital for avoiding many types of diseases, including cancer (but this has yet to be proven). This brilliant berry provides an abundance of vitamin C and contains many of the nutrients found in eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes. Due to its high vitamin C content, it is often used to treat fever and harsh cold symptoms.
This superfood has also been found to provide protection for the kidneys and liver. Their outstanding mineral and vitamin contents also can aid high blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Goji berries also seem to help those seeking weight loss because they are full of fiber and have a natural sweetness so they deliver that fullness feeling that can prevent individuals from overindulging on unhealthy foods that prevents the loss of weight. Some individuals find that keeping a healthy snack nearby can prevent them from overeating during meal times and goji berries fit this need perfectly.
Those who have a hectic and stressful schedule also find help with this berry as it may reduce tiredness, insomnia, headaches and general fatigue. As mentioned above, the red-blue shades discovered in the goji berry are natural and pure antioxidants, especially those known as the carotenoids, which include zeaxanthin and beta carotene. This group has found to be especially helpful in providing protection for the eye’s retina, thus improving one’s vision. Additionally, foods which are abundant in zeaxanthin have been shown to ward off the loss of eyesight in individuals aged 65 or older.
Perhaps the chief benefit of the goji berry is that it greatly can improve the immune system, ensuring that individuals remain healthy for many years to live a full life. Goji berries have also been found to have a high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) content which is important to distance oxidation in order to prevent cell damage which contributes to the aging process. Given this, many health enthusiasts make goji berries part of their regular diet because they assist the body in remaining young and ensuring fitness. Some research has indicated that these petite berries can improve fertility and even mend sexual function (especially for males).
Dubbed as “red diamonds” because of their significant nutritional content, there are several ways in which to consume a goji berry such as cooked, dried or raw. Goji berries can be located in herbal shops or special food shops, however many general food stores now sell them (usually as a dried berry) and they can usually be found pre-packed or in a stores bulk food area. Since they are a tart-sweet fruit they are often enjoyed alone as a snack or as part of a trail mix found in health food stores. You can also prepare your own trail mail with raw nuts, seeds and perk it up with dried goji berries!
This tasty fruit is also becoming part of a daily lifestyle as many individuals find they enjoy them for breakfast by placing them on cereal, in oatmeal or inside some creamy yogurt. Some individuals also enjoy goji tea or juice not only for its sweet taste but healthful benefits. Smoothies can be created by using goji berry powder or blending fresh, raw berries. Many enjoy them raw or preparing them with food for their miniscule seeds can enhance the texture to any meal. Goji berries are versatile and a nice change from the more standard type of berries found in food stores.
While goji berries have only become familiar recently in Western countries, they have been useful in China and Tibet for thousands of years as an ingredient for foods and for medicine purposes to intensify both strength and endurance. Dried Goji Berries or juice is a great way to improve your health while enjoying a tasty treat!