Doesn’t it seem like every week there’s a new miracle food? Things that were never a “thing” before can turn into a craze in no time.
Most fads fade. But the ones that stand the test of time are the ones that are proven over and over—and that taste good.
Goji berry is both. This bright, orange-red fruit is as cute as a grape tomato and has a mild, tangy sweet-sour flavor. Also called wolfberry, goji grows on a shrub native to China and has been used fresh, cooked, and dried, in teas, juices, wines, and medicines, for thousands of years.
And for good reason! So, go goji berry!
Goji is a nutritional powerhouse. Aside from having more iron than spinach, more carotenoids than carrots, and a higher concentration of protein than any other fruit, goji berries contain all the essential amino acids. Plus, they are high in fiber and loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C.
Goji’s popularity is warranted likely because it’s so richly nutritious. Here are some of the most common benefits of this berry:
The antioxidant in goji berries called zeaxanthin may protect the eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Goji is also a good source of the carotenoid, lutein, which when teamed with zeaxanthin is linked with better vision, decreased likelihood of cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration.
Goji truly is a superfruit with natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal compounds. Its powerful antioxidant properties, bioflavonoids, and polysaccharides aid in the body’s immune–defense system. Early testing suggests that goji berries may help fight off the flu in elderly patients who have been vaccinated but still contract the illness.
Inflammation and joint discomfort can respond to antioxidants. And while medical evidence is not overwhelmingly consistent, many people with arthritis claim that goji berries help reduce their pain.
Blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol
The bioflavonoids in goji enhance vitamin C absorption and help maintain collagen and capillary walls. Those with concerns about blood glucose levels as well as those looking to keep normal blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels have long relied on goji berries.
A word of caution here: while goji berries may keep blood sugar down, the nutrients may interact with diabetes medications, blood pressure drugs, and blood thinners. If you’re using prescription meds for any of these things, be sure to consult your health-care provider before supplementing your diet with goji. Too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing!
Any time you give your body the nutrients it needs, you’re going to feel better. That’s exactly what a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed. Participants who ate goji berries daily for 14 days reported significant improvements in energy levels and digestive function. Other studies show possible benefits that include a feeling of well-being and calmness, better athletic performance and quality of sleep, and weight loss.
Want to get your hands on some goji? It comes in many forms: dried for snacking (like raisins) or to put on cereal, fresh, brewed into teas and juices, added to Chinese soups, or made into liquid extracts. Make sure it fits right with your health regimen, and choose how you want your goji.