What Are Goji Berries Anyway?
Goji berries, also known as wolfberries (Lycium barbarum), are native to Asia, particularly the Himalayan Mountain region of Tibet. Due to the limited growing regions for goji berries, it is uncommon to see fresh berries. The dried or powdered version is much more accessible and resembles bright red raisins. They are well known for their sweet, slightly sour flavour. These berries have been used for medical and spiritual purposes for thousands of years.
Goji Berry Nutrition Facts
28 grams (5 tablespoons) of dried goji berries
- Calories: 98
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 0.1 grams
- Carbs: 21.6 grams
- Fiber: 3.6 grams
- Sugar: 21.8 grams
- Iron: 11% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin A: 501% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 15% of the DV
Health Benefits of Goji Berries
#1 Boosting Immune Function
Goji berries have often been known to ward off illnesses and infections in ancient times and can naturally enhance immunity. According to a 30-day study in 60 older adults, drinking 4 ounces (120 mL) of goji berry juice per day increased levels of immune cells and improved general feelings of well-being. This could be attributed to the Vitamin C content in goji berries, which serve to boost the immune system. Other foods that can boost Vitamin C include blueberries and oranges.
#2 Protects Eye Function
Goji berries are high in antioxidants, such as Vitamin A (retinol or retinoic acid). It is an incredibly important nutrient that aids vision and growth. Since Vitamin A is an antioxidant, it helps protect the body against the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals can enter the body through exposure to UV rays, burnt food, or radiation. However, prolonged exposure to free radicals can cause cancer and other diseases. The Vitamin A in goji berries can help guard against that.
It also contains the compound Zeaxanthin, which is drawn to the eye once it enters the body. It helps to build pigments in the eye that protect the eye cells from the harmful effects of certain light sources like the sun.
#3 Promotes Healthy Skin
Goji berries also contain beta-carotene, a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits. This compound is commonly found in carrots, but goji berries are a good source of it as well. The beta-carotene in the body is converted into Vitamin A in the body. It helps to maintain healthy skin and appearance, as well as protect the skin against UV radiation from the sun.
#4 Promotes Weight Loss
Goji berries are high in fiber. This can help to control blood sugar and can keep you feeling satiated and full for longer. As such, goji berries can help to regulate one’s appetite and cravings. These berries also have a low glycemic index (GI). This means that the rate at which goji berries release sugar into the bloodstream is slowed but extended over a longer period of time. This ensures that you don’t feel a sudden energy high, but can continue to keep going throughout the day. This is backed by research done in 2015, where it was found that goji berries can help balance insulin and glucose levels in the blood. Drinking concentrated goji berry juice can even help to promote weight loss through increased calorie burning.
Goji Berries In Your Diet
Want to go about incorporation this wonderful fruit into your diet? Here are some ways you can do so!
#1 Grab Some Goji Berry Juice
Goji berries can easily be consumed as juice. Forgo your regular cup of coffee and instead have some goji berry juice as a refreshing drink in the morning.
#2 As a smoothie bowl topping
In recent times, smoothie bowls have gained massive popularity. Not only are they tasty and nutritious, but they are great for the ‘gram too! In order to add greater variety to smoothie bowls, various add-ins can be blended in. Examples include acai, goji berries/goji berry powder, and blue spirulina. Smoothie bowls can also be topped with goji berries for an added nutritious boost.
#3 In Your Breakfast
Complete your morning meal with goji berries! Treat your goji berries like how you would raisins. These little red fruits will serve as a vibrant pop of colour when folded into oatmeal or cereal. A simple, quick, and nutritious breakfast.
#4 Fried/Spiced Rice
The tangy flavour of goji berries lends itself well to savoury dishes too. When the berries are hydrated, they can be easily folded into a large bowl of spiced rice or fried rice, adding that slightly sweet and tangy flavour to rice. It can also be blended into tomato sauces for added complexity and nutrition.
Goji berries are an amazing food that can improve your diet. Want a simple way to introduce goji berries into your family’s diet? Try out our goji berry nut mix!