What Is Goji Berry?
Goji berries are the small red fruits of the goji berry shrub. The plant is a member of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes and pepper.Goji, or wolfberry, is used in traditional Chinese medicine and in food preparations in China.
Wolfberry is actually divided into two sub-species, which are known as Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense, both belonging to the Solanaceae family. Wolfberry is native to China but is also grown in the warmer regions around the world, including Australia, North America, the Mediterranean basin, Central Asia, and Southwest Asia.It is mentioned in the ancient medicine book “Tractate for Herbs and Their Properties,” claiming that goji berries can help restore lost body liquids, calm the soul and rejuvenate the skin. In another ancient Chinese book named “Herbs and Food Healing,” the berries are said to help repair muscles and tendons and provide protection from illnesses. China is the biggest exporter of Wolfberry in the world.The English name Goji is derived from the Mandarin name gouqi.
The other name, wolfberry, is thought to have originated from the Greek name of the plant Lycium, from Lycos or “wolf” in Greek. Goji tree grows up to a height of about 3 meters.
The berries of Goji are small, up to 2 cm, dark red or orange, and oblong shaped. These berries taste anywhere from bitter to sweet.Goji berries have many important health benefits. Let us discuss them in detail below.
Optimal Weight Management
Goji berries contain high levels of fiber, which can help you feel fuller for longer. As a result, it reduces the feeling of hunger, leading to fewer calories consumed.
A recent study has found that goji berries contain zeaxanthin, an antioxidant known for helping maintain healthy vision. It’s also the compound responsible for providing the berries with their distinctive bright red color. In the same study, the researchers found that those who consumed goji berries regularly had less hypopigmentation and fewer drusen in their eye.
Controls Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is one of the major reasons for the development of heart diseases. Cholesterol forms plaque-like structures inside the blood vessels and arteries that obstruct the blood flow. This, in turn, causes the heart to pump with higher force, resulting in heart weakening, which can be followed by a heart attack. For starters, cholesterol is of two types. One is HDL or high-density lipid cholesterol, which is good cholesterol, and the other is LDL or low-density lipid cholesterol, which is bad cholesterol. It is the LDL (bad) cholesterol that forms plaque and leads to heart weakening. Recent studies have shown that the intake of goji berries reduces high cholesterol levels. In particular, LDL cholesterol levels are reduced.
Protects Brain Cells
Free radicals can attack neurons or brain cells and the damaged brain cells can develop neurodegenerative diseases. These diseases can be effectively countered by consuming goji berry. Goji berry extracts have shown significant neuroprotective activity. The team that conducted research ascertained that goji berry possesses anti-aging effects and has suggested it as a preventive medicine.
Researchers have discovered that goji berries contain hypoglycemic properties, which can benefit diabetics. In short, consuming these berries may help control your blood sugar levels safely.
How to Eat Goji Berries
Goji berries are versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways. Below are just a few examples you can try out:
- Raw: You can eat goji berries right away as a snack (but take note to eat them in moderation).
- Juice: Goji berries can be juiced to create a tasty beverage.
- Tea: Add goji berries in a cup of warm water for five to 10 minutes. Once they soften, enjoy a drink loaded with antioxidants.
- Smoothie: Soak goji berries for 10 minutes to soften them before adding to your favorite smoothie for a boost in essential nutrients.
- Trail mix: Add goji berries to your favorite trail mix.
- Soup: Add goji berries to your soup for extra flavor.
- Here is a very healthy and easy recipe that u can prepare in your house.
- For the Salad:
- 1 5oz package Baby Spinach
- 5 oz Feta Cheese Crumbles
- ¾ cup Pecan Halves
- 1 Granny Smith Green Apple sliced and cored
- 2 oz package Goji Berries
- For the Dressing:
- ¼ cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
- ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- ¼ cup Honey
- ¼ tsp Sea Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper