Did you know that there are more nutrients in one, tiny goji berry than in a traditional box of breakfast cereal with milk? Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are great for you. They are one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods in the world!
Yet, these berries are not a “superfood fad”. They’ve been around for over 5000 years, traditionally grown in both Asia and America. Goji berries were an important food source for Native American tribes in the Southwest, as well as the Chinese, Mongolians and Tibetans.
If you haven’t seen a goji berry, they are the small, mildly sweet fruit of the boxwood plant. They can be soft like a raisin or chewy and hard. But notably, not very flavorful.
My daughter will eat goji berries plain, by the handful. But, many people (myself included) don’t find them appealing plain and raw. Don’t let this scare you! Goji berries can be easily added to recipes, adding a nutritional punch to smoothies, salads, homemade energy bars, and trail mixes.
The Many Health Benefits of Goji Berries:
- Goji berries are rich in anti-oxidants, with 2-4 times more anti-oxidants than blueberries (protective against cancer, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory diseases)
- They have more carotene than carrots (great for your eyes)
- Are an “adaptogen”, invigorating and strengthening the entire body (known in some cultures as the fountain of youth)
- Contain hormone-balancing compounds
- Are protein-rich… in fact, they contain all 19 amino acids, including the eight essential amino acids, which makes goji berries a complete protein
- Are an immune system booster
- Enhance libido and sexual function
- Aid in the production of choline and contain selenium, both supportive in brain health
- In addition to selenium, contain the minerals iron, zinc and calcium
- Aid in digestion
The hormone-balancing compounds I mentioned above also help us to produce growth hormones essential for healthy growth in children. So, enjoy this berry’s benefits with the whole family!
Selecting and Storing:
Goji berries can be found fresh in farmer’s markets late summer. At a local health food store, they are sold either in bulk or dried in packages. Ideally, they are soft and moist. However, hard berries can be soaked in water at home to reach the desired consistency.
Goji berries should be purchased organic. This is a widely sprayed crop.
Quick Serving Ideas:
- Add goji berries to your favorite superfood smoothie. Try this Simple Superfood Smoothie to get you started.
- Add a small handful to your favorite herbal tea, or try preparing your own iced goji berry tea in the summer.
- Add to your favorite trail mix.
- Eat them like raisins.
- For the perfect air-travel snack, try goji berries and cacao nibs.
- Sprinkle them on your favorite salad.
- Eat them with your morning bowl of oatmeal.