The goji berry can have up to 5x the antioxidant power of blueberries and even 6 grams of protein per serving!
By Catherine Ebeling - RN, BSN & Mike Geary - Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist co-authors of the best-selling The Fat Burning Kitchen
Have you seen those things in the health food stores that look like shriveled up mini RED raisins? They are called "Goji Berries" and they are one of the highest antioxidant berries you can find on the planet. They are also called "Wolfberries" and come from Asia, in places like China, Mongolia and the Himalayas, where they have been consumed and used as a medicine for thousands of years.
Goji Berries have been an important part of Tibetan medicine and have been used for about two thousand years as a natural means of treating kidney and liver problems, and cleansing the blood.
They also have been used to help treat eye problems, skin problems, allergies, insomnia, chronic liver disease, diabetes and cancer. Goji berries are also a general strengthening tonic and are believed to be excellent for virility and sexual health as well.
Why are Goji berries so great? Some of the many nutrients these little powerhouse berries contain are:
Goji berries are one one of the highest antioxidant foods on earth.
Goji berries contain high quantities of super antioxidants like beta carotene and zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin does a lot of great things, but one of its big jobs is to protect your retinas in your eyes. You've heard of age-related macular degeneration? It is the leading cause of vision loss in older people and easily preventable by diet alone.
Antioxidants slow down disease processes and the aging process by stopping the free radicals that are generated from the environment, poor food choices, smoking, stress, excessive exercise, too much sun exposure, and more. Free radicals injure cells and damage DNA, which can then cause the cell to grow abnormally, which leads to illness and disease.
Goji berries are rich in B vitamins, and also contain large quantities of vitamin E.
And, because Goji Berries contain 18 amino acids, they are also high in protein (at about 13%), so they make a pretty satisfying snack. They contain more beta carotene than carrots, more iron than spinach, and twenty-one important trace minerals.
A serving of Goji berries con contain 7 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein!
I used to think that only dried goji berries were available in stores, but recently I found frozen goji berries at Whole Foods, and I personally like these a LOT better than the dried Goji berries. The dried goji berries have a stronger taste, and I tend to prefer the milder taste of the frozen berries. which are great added to yogurt (once thawed).
The frozen goji berries have 6 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber per serving, which is insane for a berry.
Goji berries are unique nutritional standouts, and they have specific medicinal qualities that are just now starting to be studied. Much is still unknown about the phytochemicals, polysaccharides, and complex nutritional compounds that they contain.
Some of the phytochemicals in Goji berries are:
Betaine, which is a digestive enzyme made by the liver. It helps make you calmer, enhances your memory, aids in muscle growth, and assists in breaking down fats stored in the liver, as well as preventing "fatty liver disease."
Physalin is another compound that is known to strengthen the liver and help prevent hepatitis B and help fight off certain cancers like leukemia.
They contain a powerful anti-fungal and anti-bacterial compound called Solavetivone.
And the active ingredient that gives Goji berries their reputation for virility-enhancing is Beta Sitoserol, which is actually an excellent anti-inflammatory agent as well. Goji berries have had a long-standing reputation for treating sexual impotence and preventing prostate enlargement, as well as just being generally good for virility.
A phytochemical called Cyperone is a type of sesquiterpene that benefits the heart and lowers blood pressure. This chemical has cancer-fighting properties as well and is especially good for helping prevent cervical cancer.
Can the mighty goji berry help anti-aging?
Goji berries have been called super berry because they are rated the highest for their anti-aging properties, and rated #1 on the ORAC scale which is the "Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity," which measures the antioxidant level in foods. When compared to blueberries, goji berries showed an ORAC rating as much as 5-10x that of blueberries!
You can find Goji berries at some health food stores, but they are still not well known enough to find them in traditional grocery stores.
Goji berries are most often sold in their dried form, so they look like little red raisins. Look for Goji berries without any added sugars or additives.
They have a delicious chewy slightly tart taste that you will find delicious. Toss them in cereal, salads, on toast with peanut butter or just eat them out of hand. They are delicious and fantastic for you! The frozen goji berries that I found at Whole Foods are amazing in yogurt or on salads.
I personally think that there are more benefits to eating whole goji berries (either dried or fozen) compared to taking a supplement or any of the juices with goji that are claimed to be "exotic miracles."
Most of the "miracle juices" that you see out there touting that they contain goji only contain a very small amount of goji juice and are usually loaded with other high sugar worthless juices like apple juice. These juices are just too calorie dense! Forget about them.
Stick with whole goji berries instead. Since it is unlikely that you will eat goji berries every single day, I personally also take a daily supplement (one of the few supplements I actually believe in) that contains a goji berry (wolfberry) extract, which you can find here:
It is my favorite antioxidant supplement because it also contains a synergistic blend of powerful antioxidants such as coffee berry, biovin grape (same antioxidants as red wine), acai berry, green tea, and pomegranate all-in-one.
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