Reasons to Load Your Cart with Goji Berries
Perhaps, you’ve seen Goji berries in most weight loss programs, multivitamin products, healthy recipes, and nutritious snacks. Do you know why those little red berries are so popular these days? While many food trends are highly overrated, Goji berries have an excellent rep. They belong to a superfood category and there’s a crucial reason for it – Goji berries are power packed with tons of nutrients, literally.
You may eat lots of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and even acai berries, you will never get those nutrients Goji berries offer. They’re rich in vitamins, minerals, potent antioxidants, and offer a number of health benefits other berries fail to provide your body with. If you’re looking to add more superfoods to your eating plan, check out why you should add Goji berries to it.
Page Contents - Quick Links
- Reasons to Load Your Cart with Goji Berries
- The History of Goji Berries
- Goji Berry Nutrition Facts
- Top 10 Health Benefits of Goji Berries
- Goji berry juice helps to increase energy and mood
- Keep your eyes healthy
- Improve your overall well-being
- Goji berries boast fantastic anti-aging properties
- Strengthen your immune system
- Increase fertility
- Protect your liver and kidney
- Protect your mind against degenerative disorders
- Prevent a spike in blood glucose levels
- Maintain your heart health
- The Possible Side Effects of Goji Berries
- Delicious Ways to Use Goji Berries
- Try This
- 3 Popular Goji Berry Recipes
The History of Goji Berries
Known as the fruit of immortality, Goji berries have been used as a natural powerful remedy for centuries. Although they hit the world a couple years ago, Goji berries have been planted, cultivated and harvested in China, Tibet, Nepal, and India for more than 2000 years. In the past, Goji berries were best renowned as wolfberries, albeit some people in Asia keep naming the berries this way. In China, Goji berries are called “red diamonds” due to its history and price.
Ancient people ate Goji berries to treat kidney and liver problems, improve eye health, and most importantly, live a longer life. A Chinese professor and herbalist Li Qing Yuen is believed to live as long as 256 years (some sources mention 197and 252 years) and it’s all because of his daily Goji berry consumption. Even if he lived till 197, we can only dream about it.
Nowadays, bark and dried berries are used as important components in a number of recipes and therapeutic mixtures, including medicinal tea infusions. Nutritionists and healthy eaters incorporate Goji berries into their daily diets, despite the fact that it’s hard to buy them in the nearest store.
Goji Berry Nutrition Facts
Goji berries are plentiful in essential nutrients and powerful antioxidants and are very low in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol, making them super healthy food to consume daily. They contain more beta-carotene than carrots, more iron than spinach, and more protein than whole wheat. Before you add them to your meal plans, though, check out what you’re going to put into your body:
100 grams of Goji berries provide:
- Calories – 83
- Protein – 11 grams (22% of recommended daily value)
- Dietary fiber –8 grams (32% of RDV)
- Sugar – 13 grams
- Vitamin A – 180% of RDV
- Vitamin C – 19.2mg (32% of RDV)
- Riboflavin – 1.3mg (75% of RDV)
- Thiamin – 0.1mg (10% of RDV)
- Copper – 2.0mg (100% of RDV)
- Calcium – 100mg (10% of RDV)
- Potassium – 840mg (24% of RDV)
- Iron – 9.0mg (50% of RDV)
- Zinc – 2.7mg (18% of RDV)
- Selenium – 63.7mcg (91% of RDV)
- Total Fat – 1.0g (2% of RDV)
- Cholesterol – 0.0mg
- Saturated Fat – 0.0g
You Shouldn’t Be Eating Goji Berries Daily If You Have…
Goji berries can make your body glow and rejoice, but not everyone can reap all the health benefits of these red diamonds. Goji berries contain a chemical compound that can increase your risk of ‘leaky gut,’ a serious digestive syndrome condition.If you suffer from arthritis or any digestive issues, you should also limit your Goji berry consumption. Be sure to talk to your doctor or nutritionist before eating the berries.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Goji Berries
There are tons of proven and unproven health benefits of eating Goji berries regularly, but as usual, I trust the science and proven facts. The only thing is obvious, Goji berries are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can work miracles for your overall well-being. Plus, they are versatile and easy to use in your meals, as they go well with almost all ingredients.
Whether you have an opportunity to eat them daily, or if you’re anything like me and you can splurge on these red berries only once in a while, know that you supply your body with powerful nutrients – even if it’s just once or twice a week.
Without further ado, enjoy reading the scientifically proven health perks Goji berries offer:
Goji berry juice helps to increase energy and mood
If you’re lucky to get fresh Goji berries and make your own fresh juice, drink it every time you experience mood swings or low energy level. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine showed that drinking Goji berry juice can help you boost your energy, fight bad mood, support good athletic performance, and improve your digestive health along the way. This makes them a perfect post-workout and midday snack.
Keep your eyes healthy
Remember I mentioned that Goji berries contain more beta-carotene than carrots? The berries contain 180% of recommended daily intake of vitamin A, a vital vitamin for eye health. Due to high antioxidant and vitamin contents, Goji berries help to protect your eyes from a number of age-related diseases, including macular degeneration. They also help to prevent damage from free radicals, UV light exposure, and oxidative stress.
A study conducted in Switzerland (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21169874) found that consuming Goji berries daily wards off hypopigmentation and boosts the plasma zeaxanthin as well as antioxidant levels, lowering the risk of macular degeneration.
Improve your overall well-being
A research conducted by FreeLife International, in Phoenix, suggested that daily consumption of Goji berries improve neurologic and psychologic performance, gastrointestinal functions, and overall well-being. Whether you are trying to detox your body or strengthen your health, adding a teaspoon of dried Goji berries to your morning oatmeal, an office snack, or dinner smoothie will give you a sense of power and maintain your overall health in tip top condition.
Goji berries boast fantastic anti-aging properties
All those powerful antioxidants found in Goji berries will keep you younger for longer. Let’s not forget about Li Qing Yuen. Eating Goji berries regularly fights free radical damage and protects the body from high levels of inflammation. The thing is, the free-radicals inhibit the body’s ability to repair itself, decreasing collagen production and increasing your chance of premature aging.
Moreover, Goji berries are shown to have anti-tumor activities against a number of types of skin cancer cells by preventing tumor growth and apoptosis.
Goji berries are a wonderful source of amino acids and potassium, both of which help to stimulate the growth hormone production, keeping you looking younger for longer. Say no to Botox, and focus on what you eat instead.
Strengthen your immune system
Like any superfood, Goji berries have great immune-boosting properties. They are high in polysaccharides, the compounds that help your body to ward off diseases and keep your immunity high. Moreover, the berries are loaded with vitamin C and zinc, both of which are good in preventing sickness and speeding up recovery. According to a study done by the Case Western Reserve University foods rich in zinc, including Goji berries, can relieve and shorten the severity and length of cold and flu.
Goji berries also strengthen your immune system by stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal system. Their polysaccharides and fiber content naturally supports the healthy intestinal bacteria growth, called probiotics.
The nutrients found in Goji berries help to keep the reproductive system healthy, especially when it comes to men’s health. A Chinese study that involved 42 men diagnosed with infertility because of low sperm production and motility, showed that a regular Goji berry consumption can help to treat fertility. All 42 men became fathers after the experiment.
A number of other researchers show that Goji berries (whether dried or juiced) can enhance sexual desire and increase sexual performance. Although there are no proven facts that Goji berries are beneficial to female infertility, a few experiments claim they are. According to the reports from the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, Goji berry juice help to fight fatigue, thus increasing a woman’s desire for intercourse and her ability to handle a pregnancy.
Protect your liver and kidney
According to Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, Goji berries have the ability to tonify and nourish kidney and liver. They are a good source of betaine, known as an effective liver protectant, but it can be dangerous to pregnant women. Goji berries are often used in many liver cleanses, along with other herbs such as Ganoderma, licorice, pentaphylla and gynostemma.
According to Traditional Chinese medicine, Goji berries are good for cleansing the blood and kidney stone natural remedies, placing them on a list of the best ingredients for liver and kidney health.
Protect your mind against degenerative disorders
Goji berries are fortified with B vitamins and calcium, which are essential nutrients needed to prevent degenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. The berries have the ability to protect the nervous system and are useful for people who suffer from memory troubles, mental clarity, and a number of other neurological functions. Keep your brain healthy by adding a handful of dried Goji berries to your breakfast, lunch or snack.
Prevent a spike in blood glucose levels
Goji berries are one of few foods that people suffering from diabetes can safely consume. Goji berries have a low glycemic index and can aid in reducing insulin resistance and bad cholesterol levels. (http://www.sunlifegoji.com/nutrition/science/32-science-reports-on-goji.html) However, it doesn’t mean that you can munch on these berries all the time. Don’t forget about moderation and consult your doctor before eating them.
Maintain your heart health
With all those nutrients and antioxidants, Goji berries can’t be ignored when it comes to heart health as they’re considered one of the best nature’s multivitamins. Regular consumption of the berries improves muscle function and blood flow, reducing your risk for heart disease. Additionally, antioxidants in Goji berries keep red blood cells away from lipid peroxidation and prevent cell damage.
The Possible Side Effects of Goji Berries
When consumed in excess or without a doctor’s permission, Goji berries can bring more health issues rather than benefits into your life. Take a look at what can happen to your body when you’re not careful with these red diamonds:
- Hypertension – the berries can disturb your blood pressure levels.
- If you’re prone to allergies, Goji berries might not be for you as they can only worsen the symptoms.
- Dried Goji berries aren’t recommended for people with diabetes, particularly those who take blood thinners or diabetic medications.
- Goji berries aren’t recommended for people suffering from pollen allergies, as they can cause nasal congestion, sneezing, wheezing, itchy skin and eyes.
- Goji berries are a natural energy booster, so eating too much of them can make you hyperactive and affect your concentration.
- Eating Goji berries late in the evening can lead to a sleepless night.
- The berries can also cause dizziness, hallucinations, eye discomfort, and blurred vision.
- Since Goji berries enhance the blood flow in the body, too much of them can lead to a hemophiliac.
- Too much of Goji berries can also cause digestive disorders, especially if your digestive system is weak. Indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting are just a few symptoms they can cause.
- Pregnant women should avoid eating Goji berries, as they can affect the fetus growth. That’s all due to high selenium content.
Eat Goji berries in moderation in order to enjoy their health benefits, not side effects.
Delicious Ways to Use Goji Berries
If you decide to add Goji berries to your diet, you might want to know how to use them in the healthiest and tastiest ways. Here are some suggestions for you:
- granola bars
- trail mixes
- eat them raw
- mixed with nuts for a quick snack on the go
- Goji berry biscotti
- chia seed pudding
3 Popular Goji Berry Recipes
With an abundance of incredibly delicious Goji berry recipes, I had trouble choosing the most popular ones. However, I think the best recipes for newbies are those that are quick and easy to make. Check out what you can cook today if you have Goji berries handy, of course.
Comforting Honey Rooibos Goji Tea
Rooibos tea has many health benefits; add the two powerful, antioxidant-rich ingredients such as honey and Goji berries to it, and you will get a super healthy morning drink to enjoy instead of coffee.
- ½ cup Goji berries
- 1 bag Rooibos tea
- 1 lemon sliced
- Hot water
- 3 teaspoons organic raw honey, or to taste
- Bring water to boil (half a pitcher). Add a bag of Rooibos tea and let it stand for 3 minutes.
- Add Goji berries and raw honey to tea and stir well to combine. Let the berries plump (around 10 minutes) and add the lemon slices. Stir well and serve.
- You can add ice cubes to make your tea more refreshing.
Goji Berry Quinoa Salad
High in vitamins and antioxidants, this salad is an ideal lunch or side dish idea. The combination of two superfoods will do the trick.
- ¾ cup dried Goji berries
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 cup raw organic quinoa
- 1 cup curly leaf kale
- ½ cup baby spinach
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 teaspoons chia seeds
- 3 teaspoons pine nuts, optional
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin seeds
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Add Goji berries to water and let it soak for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the berries are soft. Remove them from the water and put into a small bowl.
- If you use pine nuts, toast them in a hot pan. Be careful, though because they can be easily burned. It’s all the matters of seconds – once you smell the aroma (even the slightest one), remove the pan from the heat and quickly toss the nuts in a bowl to cool.
- Add quinoa to a saucepan with 2 cups of water and cook according to the package instructions. Fluff and let it cool.
- Meanwhile, whisk the olive oil, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, pepper, and garlic to make a dressing.
- In a large bowl, mix together the quinoa, baby spinach, kale leaves, Goji berries, pine nuts, and chia seeds. Pour the dressing over it and stir well. Garnish with pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!
Mesmerizing Goji Berry Smoothie
This smoothie is a kind of luxury for me, and perhaps for you as well. However, drinking it once in a while is a dream come true both for your taste buds and your body.
- 2 tablespoons Goji berries
- 1 banana, peeled and frozen
- 1 cup frozen mixed berries
- 1 tablespoon almond nuts, crushed
- ½ cup almond milk
- ½ teaspoon raw honey
Place all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Sprinkle chia seeds on it and enjoy!
Now that you’re aware of some of the best health benefits, side effects and delicious recipes of Goji berries, are you going to add them to your eating plan? These tiny antioxidant powerhouses will work miracles for you. But again, moderation is key here. Also, if you have any health issues, talk to your doctor to find out if Goji berries are good for you.
Have you ever tried Goji berries? What are your favorite ways to eat them?
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Catalina is a smoothie junkie, food lover, recipe developer and a vegetarian who believes animals have the full right to live just like humans do. She has tried most types of diets and overcomes an eating disorder, chronic fatigue, anxiety, and depression. She is passionate about healthy lifestyle and the things she puts in her body. Catalina loves to share her love for smoothies, wholefood cooking, vegetarian recipes, fitness and positive and happy life, and inspire people to cultivate lifelong happiness.