Goji Berries: What Are They?

Many are familiar with blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries and even boysenberries. But the mention of goji berries leaves most of us scratching our heads. Recently, they have been rising in popularity amongst health enthusiasts and being heralded as a ‘miracle fruit’. These superberries also go by the names of wolfberries, lycium barbarum or gou qi zi.

Goji berries have been prized for thousands of years in China, India and Tibet due to their nutrition value. They are high in antioxidants – particularly carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin protects your eye’s retina by absorbing blue light, and decreases the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration which causes vision loss and blindness. Also, goji extracts may prevent growth of cancer cells and lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

What Does It Contain?

  • 11 essential minerals
  • 6 essential vitamins
  • 18 amino acids (extremely important proteins that boost energy levels and decreases cardiovascular diseases)
  • Essential fatty acids (‘good fats’ that promotes healthy organs and prevents cholesterol build-up)
  • 5 carotenoids (protects cells from free radicals and enhances immune and reproductive system)

Anti-Aging Properties

Munching on goji berries may slow the aging process as well. The carotenoids protects cells and DNA from free radical damage from free radicals. When a cell’s DNA changes, the cell grows abnormally. Antioxidants found in the berry can minimize such damage and help reduce the risk of some serious diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. Because of its anti-aging properties, age-related diseases such as Alzheimers can be kept at bay.

Taste & Texture

The dried berry is chewy (think cold taffy), with a tangy, savory sweet taste that’s mildly sour with a hint of bitterness. It a bit of an acquired taste as they aren’t sweet like other dried berries.

They have also long been used in a myriad of Asian dishes as an ingredient. I remember my mother boiling handful of these in soups and using them as garnishes when I was a child. Back then I didn’t like or understand why it was in every dish, but then again, I was a rather picky eater.

During the middle of last year I chanced upon a jar of it in the pantry and started sneaking it into my meals. I would eat it with greek yogurt with a drizzle of agave, or add a handful of it into my breakfast oats and salads. I also used it in daily cups of green tea and smoothies. Note: these berries tend to be rather tough to blend, so I recommend soaking it in some water to soften it up before blending.

How Do I Take It?

You can follow some of my suggestions above. If you don’t like the chewy, slightly hard texture, put the berries in just enough water to cover them and let them sit for 10 minutes.

One of my main ways of ingesting this nutrient powerhouse is by drinking Ningxia Red, which is a goji elixir available at Young Living. I always start and end my day with NXR, and I noticed that it did wonders for my stamina and quality of sleep. I am a rather active person and late nights tend to ruin my stamina. NXR killed two birds with one stone; helping me stay alert during the day and putting my body to rest at night. Unlike other health ‘potions’ that health stores tend to sell, this blend tastes wonderful and ‘real’. Its hard to find good blends that delivers their promise for better health and taste great at the same time, so I’m definitely a strong advocate and believer in Ningxia Red.

Where Can I Buy It?

Be wary of finding cheaper versions in Asian markets that may have added sugar, red dye and a lot of pesticides. Young Living sells a great 16oz pack of it that you can use in your cooking.

Reposted with permission.

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