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Have you heard of Goji Berries?
Goji berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. Some legends report that goji berries were eaten by monks in the Himalayan Mountains thousands of years ago and steeped in hot water to help aid meditation and obtain greater health, vitality, longevity, energy and stamina.
Low in calories, fat-free, a good source of fiber and a high antioxidant food, goji berry benefits include the ability to help you fight disease, effectively manage your weight and experience better digestion. Usually eaten raw, dried, or in liquid or powder form, versatile goji berries contain a wide range of phytonutrients, vitamins and trace minerals, giving them the name “super food berries” by many health experts.
In fact, according a study published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, goji berry benefits include experiencing …
increased ratings for energy levels, athletic performance, quality of sleep, ease of awakening, ability to focus on activities, mental acuity, calmness, feelings of health, contentment, and happiness and significantly reduced fatigue and stress.
BUT there is more:
Goji berry benefits include the ability to treat diabetes, hypertension, infectious diseases, and common illnesses like the cold or a fever. Traditionally, they’ve also been used to fight depression and anxiety or other mood disorders. They’re a great source of antioxidants known as beta-carotene, plus other phytonutrients that help protect skin and eye health. Thanks to their ability to reduce blood glucose, regulate cholesterol levels and keep triglycerides at an ideal balance, they’re also shown to prevent heart disease.
As usual our wonderful USDA doesn’t offer nutrition facts for goji berries, and it’s believed that they vary widely depending on the type, how fresh they are and how they’re preserved. Different sources claim that goji berry benefits include varying degrees of nutrients, but below is a range of the vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals present in goji berries.
¼ cup of dried goji berries has about:
- 100 calories
- 0 grams fat
- 3 grams fiber
- 13 grams sugar
- 4 grams protein
- 140 percent DV vitamin A
- 35–163 percent DV vitamin C
- 100 vitamin DV B2
- 91 percent DV selenium
- 24 percent DV potassium
- 10–100 percent DV iron
- 4–10 percent DV calcium
- 18 amino acids (11 of which are essential)
- 5 sources of healthy, unsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid
- Phytochemicals, including beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lycopene, cryptoxanthin, lutein and polysaccharides
How does this compare to some other popular fruits?
According to the USDA, a small serving of dried goji beries has an oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) score — which measures the antioxidant value of various foods — of 3,290. By comparison, an apple has an ORAC score of 2,568; raisins a score of 3,406; blueberries a score of 4,633; and pomegranate seeds a score of 4,479. (3) All are good sources of various antioxidants, but what makes goji berries stand apart is their amino acids (protein), fatty acids and specific antioxidants.
It’s rare for a fruit to provide amino acids, especially 11 types considered “essential” that the body can’t make. Also remember that each type of berry or fruit provides a different array and level of antioxidants, so the more types you consume the more benefits.