Goji Berries: An Antioxidant Powerhouse

Dr Jess says:

Goji berries, also known as wolfberries or, in traditional Chinese medicine, as Go Qi Zi, are well known for their health benefits. These bright, red-orange coloured berries are often sold dried, or in pre-made juices (these can contain a lot of sugar, so be aware). 

The Chinese view goji berries as a secret to longevity and it is believed they can treat a wide range of health issues, including high blood pressure, diabetes and can help aid weight loss. Traditional Chinese medicine uses goji berries as a nourishing and strengthening tonic, thought to be particularly good for optimal eye health, due to their high antioxidants and zeaxanthin levels.1 They are also naturally high in vitamin C, and contain iron, fibre and vitamin A. Research shows that they may help prevent age-related mental acuity, by helping to improve memory and cognitive function.2

Some people can be allergic to goji berries, so please speak to your medical practitioner if you have any concerns before adding goji berries to your diet. Allergic symptoms are more common in people who have allergies to peaches, tobacco, tomatoes and nuts.3  Signs of an allergic reaction include rash, fever and nausea and dizziness. 

You can cook with goji berries, add a handful to your daily smoothie or juice, or drink them in a tea. 

how to enjoy goji berries

Buy organic, dried Goji berries. Purchasing organic berries reduces the possible contamination by pesticides. Dried goji berries will keep for around a year. Dried goji berries have a sweet, slightly acidic flavour and a nutty texture.

Eat them in homemade trail mix. Roast some organic mixed nuts, add a handful of cacao nibs and mix through a handful of dried goji berries, for an antioxidant health boost that tastes delicious. This is a great and nutritious snack to keep on hand if you are fasting

Add to chicken soup. Goji berries are often added to nourishing chicken broths in China and make perfect sense, if you are recovering from an illness. While goji berries are great in chicken soup, they also work well in other soups and casseroles and a whole range of savoury Asian dishes. 

Dark chocolate goji berry bites. Melt a block of 70% dark chocolate in a bain-marie. Once melted, pour onto greaseproof paper in small rounds. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and scatter goji berries over the rounds. Leave to set in the fridge, then enjoy!

Grow your own goji berries. Lycium barbarum plants grow very easily in the UK. They are very hardy and can survive our climate well, and their berries are beautiful on the tree. After the first two years, they yield large amounts of fruit which you can eat fresh, or dry the fruit for later. This is a great addition to any organic produce garden.

 

References:

  1. Goji Berries as a Potential Natural Antioxidant Medicine: An Insight into Their Molecular Mechanisms of Action
  2. The treatment of Goji berry (Lycium barbarum) improves the neuroplasticity of the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus in aged rats
  3. Goji berries (Lycium barbarum): risk of allergic reactions in individuals with food allergy

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