Wolfberries, also known as goji berries, are fairly unassuming. If you see them in your local health food store, grocery, or farmer’s market, they are typically dried.
Sold raw, the bright orange-red berries are either dried naturally in the sun or carefully dried in a factory to preserve their nutritional content.
The known health and medicinal benefits of goji berries have made them a staple item throughout much of Asia since the Roman Empire. While still relatively new to the West, Chinese and Tibetan herbalists and medicine men have made use of this berry for thousands of years.
Some stories about goji berries border on mythological.
Such as the tale of Li Ch’ing Yuen, a famed Chinese sage and herbalist, who was rumored to be over 250 years old at the time of his death in 1930. His longevity, according to documents, was due to daily consumption of goji berries. The facts in his case may have been embellished a bit.
Let’s look at what science has to say…
A member of the nightshade family – which includes tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes – goji berry benefits are native to the Himalayan Mountains of Mongolia and Tibet.
The average berry ranges from one to two centimeters long. It may be small, but it is one of the most nutritionally dense foods on earth. Every berry contains unusually high levels of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and antioxidants.
Goji Berry Benefits Are Amazing
- A one-ounce serving is naturally cholesterol and fat free.
- It contains 140% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin A.
- A single tablespoon contains 500 times the vitamin C content of an orange.
- Don’t forget the 21 minerals, 18 amino acids, numerous carotenoids, and the significant amount of vitamins B and E as well as other antioxidants.
A nutrition plan that includes antioxidants lowers your risk of cancer, keeps your body healthier overall, and looking younger for years longer. This happens because antioxidants fight free radical damage.
Do you know how this fascinating process works?
Mutated molecules in your body are called free radicals – they are missing an electron. These are unstable cells that will do anything to get their missing electron back. They do this by stealing electrons from nearby stable molecules – which causes those cells to mutate and turn into free radicals.
This chain reaction causes damage to your body on the cellular level and scientists all over the world are discovering that is the basis for many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and neuro-degenerative diseases. Antioxidants protect your body from the harm caused by free radicals.
Goji berry benefits have one of the highest known Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) ratings of any food. This is a way to measure their antioxidant value.
As an example, kiwis have an ORAC rating of 602. Oranges are rated at 750. Blueberries have a rating of 2400.
Goji berries have an astounding ORAC rating of 25,300.
Not only are goji berries loaded with antioxidants they also stimulate your pituitary and thyroid glands, naturally improving your metabolism and aiding you in maintaining your weight.
Other studies have shown that they can help with liver detoxification, lower your risk of age related vision loss, and relieve symptoms of menopause.
If you choose to eat them straight from the bag, you’ll find goji berries to be tangy with a somewhat sweet and tart taste – much like a raw, unsweetened cranberry.
They have the chewy texture of raisins and make a great substitute in your breakfast cereal or oatmeal. You can add them to yogurt or a shake, mix them into trail mix, or toss them into your pancake or waffle batter.
However you choose to enjoy them, the taste and the healthful goji berry benefits will make you want to stock up on this organic treat that the Chinese government officially declared a national treasure.
You’ll just call them delicious.