One of nature’s gifts to us is a bright red berry known as the goji berry. These sweet, slightly sour berries are grown on a shrub that’s native to China, and are known for being one of the many medicinal plants used in traditional Chinese medicine, due to the countless goji berry health benefits.
Often being sold in a dried form, like raisins, goji berries are also available raw, as juice, tea, smoothies, or even combined with other foods to make a healthy snack like trail mix. Since goji berry health benefits are numerous, we’re going to talk about them more in depth in this article. We’re also going to mention how you can use goji berries for a healthy lifestyle.
Goji Berry Health Benefits
It has been believed for over 2,000 years that the goji berry helps improve health, vitality, longevity, energy and stamina. Given the name “superfood berries” by many health experts, they contain a various amount of important vitamins and minerals, such as iron. Goji berry health benefits also include being:
- low in calories
- a good source of fiber
- a high antioxidant food.
Phytonutrients, which goji berries are a great source of, help protect skin and eye health. Thanks to the berry’s ability to reduce glucose levels, regulate cholesterol, and keep triglycerides at an ideal balance, they are also proven to prevent heart disease.
All of this results in the ability to help humans fight disease, effectively manage weight, and experience a better digestion.
Traditionally, they have also been used to fight depression and anxiety, or other mood disorders, improving a person’s life not only physically but also mentally. Goji berry health benefits allow individuals to improve relationships and connections, or even work performance.
Goji Berry Nutritional Value
The USDA does not offer nutrition stats for goji berries. However, goji berry health benefits do vary depending on the type of berries, how fresh they are, and how they are preserved. It is known that goji berries contain a lot of nutrients. Below is an example of the range of vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients present in goji berries.
1/4 cup of dried goji berries has about:
- 100 calories
- 0g of fat
- 3g of fiber
- 13g of sugar
- 4g of protein
- 140% vitamin A
- 35-163% vitamin C
- 100% vitamin B2
- 91% selenium
- 24% potassium
- 10-100% iron
- 4-10% calcium
- 18 amino acids (11 of which are essential)
- 5 sources of unsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-liolenic acid
- phytochemicals, including beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lycopene, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and polysaccharides
Goji berry health benefits are noticeable even with small amounts of goji berries eaten. What makes the goji berry stand out is its amino acids and fatty acids, along with specific antioxidants. It is very rare for fruits to provide amino acids, especially 11 types that are considered essential.
It is also important to remember that each type of berry or fruit contains a different order and level of antioxidants, so the more types consumed will bring more benefits.
Goji Berry Uses
Adding goji berries to your diet is a great idea. Do not hesitate to pick some up on your next visit to the grocery store. Most sell dried goji berries prepackaged, but you can also find them fresh. Treat them like raisins or fresh berries, such as blueberries. Mix them into breakfast cereal or yogurt, add to trail mix, or drink goji berry tea or juice.
Goji berries also taste great when cooked with lean turkey or pork, adding a sweetness to savory dishes. Their vitamin C content also increases the body’s ability to absorb the iron in meat. Eating two or more servings of goji berries per day is recommended for maximizing health benefits.
Goji Berry Tea
- 8 cups water
- 1/4 cup dried goji berries
- 1/4 hibiscus flowers
- 3 tbsp honey or agave nectar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- ice cubes
- orange or lemon cut into wedges
Boil the water, then remove from heat source and add hibiscus flowers, goji berries, cinnamon sticks, and nectar or honey. Steep for at least 25 minutes, then whisk the mixture and strain into 8 glasses filled with ice.
Super Antioxidant Smoothie
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbsp cashews
- 2 tbsp goji berries
- 1 cup frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
- 1 banana, peeled and frozen
Blend water and cashews until creamy. Add goji berries, frozen berries, and banana, and then blend everything together.
Superfood Berry Chia Breakfast
The chia pudding includes:
- 2 tbsp chia seeds, white or black
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla bean powder or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp goldenberries
- 2 tbsp goji berries
- 2 tbsp raw cashews
Start by soaking the chia seeds in the almond milk. Whisk well with fork and make sure to break up any clumps, then whisk in vanilla powder and cinnamon. Let sit for 5 minutes, stir again, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes or overnight. Top with berries and cashews after refrigeration.
Providing a welcomed change from the other fruits or berries that you usually eat, goji berries are a new nutritious food to add to your diet. Packed with high vitamins and minerals, and a dense fiber value, they may be able to increase your overall well-being. Studies suggest that goji berries can boost your health and mood. If you know more goji berry health benefits, share them in the comments below.