When you think superfood, what comes to mind? Leafy greens, avocados, blueberries, and green tea are often at the top of most people’s list. What about the lesser-known goji berry? This bright red bundle of antioxidants has been used for over 6,000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet, and India…and for good reason! The list of health benefits is extensive, so pull out your reading glasses and get ready to meet your new favorite berry!
Goji Berries Keep Your Eyes Young and Healthy
I already mentioned one benefit…antioxidants! In fact, goji berries are particularly rich in carotenoids like beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. One of zeaxanthin's key roles is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light (and of course doing its antioxidant duties). On top of this, increased intake of foods containing zeathanthin may decrease the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 65.
Support Your Metabolism, Heart, and Liver
For thousands of years, goji berries have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to protect and support liver health. On top of that, they have also been shown to be helpful in managing blood sugar levels as well as having positive effects on HDL (good) cholesterol. Heart-healthy, liver healthy, metabolism supportive, and MORE…you can think of the goji as the Swiss army knife of berries!
Immunity – Goji Berries Have Your Back!
Vitamins A and C also add to the antioxidant capacity of this ancient superfood. When combined with the oxidant protection from beta-carotene and zeaxanthin these berries will have your immune system running on all cylinders! Preliminary research has even suggested tumor and cancer-protective effects as well as being anti-inflammatory!
Keep Your Skin Supple
Beta-carotene has many skin-supportive benefits, and for this reason, is used in many different skincare products (so you know it’s good). Reduced irritation, signs of aging, and effects of sun damage are all functions of beta-carotene on top of improving the overall health of the skin.
Sexual Function – Goji Berries Are More Than An Aphrodisiac
While many foods are touted as aphrodisiacs, the goji berry has been popularized because of its effects on testosterone profiles. For men, this has been thought to enhance fertility by increasing sperm count, motility, and sexual ability. In other words, they keep your engine ready and revving – who wouldn’t want that?
You may be thinking – how can I get some of these magical-sounding berries into my diet? It’s easy! Goji berries can often be found in dried form (they look like bright red raisins) and can easily be added to smoothies, fruit bowls, and parfaits for picture-worthy meals. Some other easy ways to increase your goji count is to add them to trail mix, on top of salads, and you can even steep them in your tea. I often pair them with cacao nibs as a ‘trail mix’ superfood duo, especially for when I travel. They give me a little pep since I don’t use caffeine, and they pack my body with megadoses of antioxidants, which we always need more when we are not sleeping in our own bed!
With so many ways to eat goji berries, this truly is a SIMPLE way to consume a health-supportive superfood. That said, beware of marketing ploys making bold claims about goji juice – there are actually few published trials completed in humans for the health benefits of goji juice. Keep it SIMPLE – go for the whole berries which have their fiber intact, and preferably ones that aren’t dried and preserved with sugar. This berry has stuck around for 6000 years for a reason – it doesn’t need anything fancy!