Are Goji Berries Good For You?
First things first. What in the world is a Goji berry? To sum it up, it’s a bright red, sweet, teeny fruit mostly cultivated in China, growing on little shrubs. Its medicinal uses date back at least 1,700 years in Tibet where they were used to treat kidney, eye, skin, and liver problems just to name a few. For such a small fruit, it certainly packs a big punch in the ‘good for you’ department. They’ve been trending in the health industry over the past several years, and for good reason.
Finding a place to begin sharing the benefits of this superfood is tough seeing as there are so many! But, let’s start with something we’ve been told we need lots of all our lives – Vitamin C. They’re packed with it. So much so, in fact, that they beat out the most popular vitamin C containing fruit, oranges. Imagine that! What’s even better, is their sugar content is way lower and fiber content even higher. I’m already thinking about chucking my orange consumption habit.
When we think about getting in our daily protein, the last thing we turn to is a piece of fruit. It’s no secret, there’s next to none in them. Ah ha! But wait! In comes the unassuming goji berry. With 18 amino-acids (the building blocks of protein) and 12 times more muscle building power than apples, oranges and strawberries, the berries are a pretty good source of this essential macronutrient. They won’t replace the old standbys like chicken breast or egg whites, but it’s good to know if you’re trying to cut down on your meat intake without skimping on the protein.
They’re also loaded with anti-oxidants, one in particular that you’ll be interested to learn about – zeaxanthin. On a surface level, the berries can thank this AO for their bright color, but more importantly, they offer amazing health benefits. For one, they help protect your cells against breaking down when subjected to free radicals, like pollution, which is an overall benefit of all anti-oxidants. But, zeaxanthin takes it a step further by also protecting the eyes from harmful UV rays and decreasing the chance of cataracts and other degenerative eye issues.
While zeaxanthin does all sorts of good things for your insides, it also does phenomenal things for your outsides. For anyone concerned with aging skin, these berries are your new best friend. Free radicals in the body are a huge contributor to a dull complexion. Eating goji berries can help you maintain your youthful glow.
Ok, so now that you’re sold on the wonder-berry, here’s where to find them. They’re mostly sold as dried fruit but you get the same benefits as if they were raw. Unfortunately, fresh goji berries can be difficult to find in the States. Luckily, you can buy them dried in bulk from health food stores and many standard supermarkets sell them prepackaged like raisins. Keep an eye out for goji berry juice as well. It can be easily incorporated into a morning smoothie, mixed with water, or even better, drink it straight up!
Moral of the story is, goji berries are good for you. They’re low in calories, fat-free and fiber rich, not to mention versatile. Do yourself a favor and incorporate a handful or so into your daily diet.
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