Asian Beauty Secret: Goji Berry Health Benefits!

By Joanna 11/04/2014 In
Nutritional Tips

Goji berries are the world’s most nutritionally dense fruit on Earth. This super berry is native to the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet and Mongolia. Because of its popularity, goji berries are now grown in many other countries as well.

If you have never tried goji berries before, they have a mild tangy taste that is slightly sweet and sour. When dried, they have a similar shape and chewy texture as raisins.

I’ve grown up consuming goji berries in my homemade soups. I never really knew what they were or the benefits. All I knew was they made the soup taste sweeter and it’s good for your health, as Chinese Medicine practitioners have been using them for thousands of years.

But of course, nowadays, goji berries are marketed as one of the top ‘superfood’.

Nutritional Properties include:

- It contains all essential amino acids and has the highest concentration of protein amongst other fruits. Hence, an ideal choice to meet your daily protein requirements.
- It has the highest vitamin C of any fruit content in the world. The fresh berries have 400 times more vitamin C than oranges and the dried berries have about 7 times more than oranges.
- It has 21 trace minerals, high in fiber and has 15 times more iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc and more.

These are just some nutritional values, let’s explore the benefits and why we should add this ‘superfood’ into our daily diet.

Health Benefits

1) Anti ageing

Goji berry is known as the world’s most powerful anti-ageing food, thanks to its antioxidants properties which delays the aging of cells. In Tibet, goji berries are known as the ‘key to eternal youth’.

According to a legend, the Chinese herbalist Li Ching-Yuen was documented by the Government of China as having lived to 252 years of age. He was born in 1678 and lived to 1930. One of his secrets was eating Goji berries on a daily basis.

2) Correct “Chi” deficiencies

In Traditional Chinese medicine Goji Berry is said to correct “Qi deficiencies” such as low energy, fatigue, insomnia and anxiety. Qi is the body’s vital life force energy. It can be damaged by over working, over exercising, over thinking or stress, unhealthy eating, aging, illness and more.

Goji Berries are used to rebalance Qi by boosting energy levels, reducing stress, and balances the immune system.

3) Properties that aid Weight Loss / Maintenance

Eating goji berries solely, without changing our lifestyle, will not help in weight loss. It is a combination of eating a well balanced diet with regular exercises that will help with your weight loss goal. Saying that however, goji berries do contain many health properties that will aid in your weight loss process. For instance:

- Goji berries are low in calories and completely fat free. One tablespoon of goji berries only has 18 calories and 1g of protein.
- It’s also low in Glycemic Index levels, scoring at 29, it is lower than apple and majority of other fruits.
- It is also high in fiber, which means feeling fuller for longer and keeping your blood sugar level stable.
- Thanks to its high protein contain, these berries also promote muscle growth. One study has also found that goji berries can improve exercise endurance, boost metabolism and improve workout performance overall.
So, adding a small amount of goji berries into your daily diet may help to enhance your weight loss goal or to maintain a healthy weight.

4) Anti-inflammation & Glowy Skin

This amazing little superfruit also contains natural anti-inflammatory. It has been known to reduce skin inflammation, skin rashes, scars, acne and protect against skin damage. Goji berries are also rich in Vitamin E, which gives you a soft glowing skin and contain fatty acids, which can stimulate collagen production, resulting in younger-looking skin. So ladies, it’s never too young or old to eat goji berries.

5) Sharper Vision

Zeaxan-thin and lutein are two components that keep our eyes healthy and goji berries contain both ingredients. Consuming a small amount of goji berries everyday will not only make your vision sharper but to also protect the retina against any eye conditions.

This is especially important with our modern daily habit of staring and working long hours in front of a computer. This can cause soreness and tiredness to the eyes and daily consumption of goji berries can help reduce these symptoms. So if you are one that stares at your computer for long hours, don’t forget your daily dose of goji berries and of course allow your eyes to rest too. I personally find this has helped me out.

6) Protects Vital Organs

Regular consumptions of goji berries are known to keep our vital organs healthy and it’s very commonly used by Chinese medicine practitioners.

- Goji Berries help to control cholesterol and blood pressure, which keeps the heart healthy.
- It’s also used in Asia to treat diabetes and to help regulate high blood sugar.
- It also protects the liver and kidney and helps in all types of digestive problems such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Goji extracts is said to may also prevent the growth of cancer cells.

7) Healthier Sex Life

In Asia, goji berries are traditionally known as a strong sexual tonic. As we age, a lower sex drive can be linked with the decreased production of testosterone. Consuming goji berries can help to increase its production, to improve overall stamina, well-being, heance a healthier sex life.

How much should you eat daily?

Since goji berries are so nutrient dense, a good starting point is to consume 2 or 3 tablespoons a day to gain the health benefits.

Different ways to eat it

They are many different ways it can be consumed:

1) Eat them raw as snacks – just like raisins. Chances, they might not be to your taste and it’s better to add them in your drinks or food.
2) Blend them in Smoothies. It will make your smoothie taste sweeter.
3) Add them in trail mix, muesli, cereals or oatmeal.
4) Add them in herbal teas. Allow them to soak for 5 – 10 mins and they’ll be plump and juicy and you’ll have Goji Tea.
5) Add them as ingredients in muffins, scones or energy bar. Just think of them as what you would use with raisins.
6) Or Soup, just like how I have been brought up eating them.

Where to buy Goji Berries?

Goji Berries are mostly sold as dried fruits. If you are live in Asia, goji berries are probably already part of your daily diet and it is extremely easy to buy from any grocer or chinese medicine stores at a low price. In the western countries, however, goji berries are marketed as a health food, and you want to be careful to not pay extremely high prices with the marketing claims.
Although it is the world’s most nutrient densed superfood, you can get it at a much lower price. Don’t only source from health stores, you can go to an oriental supermarket and even find them in major supermarkets for much lower price. For instance I bought this packet at only £1.80. Of course, try to source for Organic Goji berries.

Are there any side effects?

Goji berries have very few side effects and have been consumed regularly by Asians. However, if you have food allergies, you’re pregnant or you’re a nursing mother, please consult your doctor before changing your diet.
Goji berries can also interact with blood thinner and other medications; so if you are on medications, please consult your doctor before consuming them.
Like anything else, remember to consume goji berries in moderation and you can’t go wrong.
Try this Superfruit out and let me know what’s your favourite way of consuming Goji Berries? I like them in my smoothie and soup.

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