Goji Berry Benefits
Credit: Pvt pauline via Wikimedia Commons

You may not have heard of Goji berries but they are one of those super foods that have been lost to the modern world.  They are great as snacks and they taste great. It is one of the easiest super foods to get in your diet.

These super berries contain one of the highest vitamin or mineral count of any food such as 11 essential vitamins, potassium, zinc, iron, copper and riboflavin.[1]

They have 18 different amino acids which are the building blocks to protein.[1] They also contain 8 types of polysaccharides which are the main source of dietary fiber.

If you are looking for more Vitamin C, put down the sugar laden orange juice and grab some goji berries. They contain approximately 500 times more vitamin C per weight than an orange and considerably more beta-carotene than carrots.[1]

Goji berries also score very high on the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) scale. ORAC is a rating system develop to show the antioxidant contain of fruits and vegetables. Goji berries score a 3290 which is the puts them at the very top of all fruits and vegetables.[4]

Foods like goji berries are considered super foods because they are rich in antioxidants which are extremely important in fighting free radicals in the body.

What are Free Radicals?

Not all free radicals are bad. Some are actually created by the body to fight off diseases and infections. However, there are a category of free radicals that are extremely damaging.

Damaging free radicals are the by-products of cells. They are created when a bonded weak molecule splits in the cell becoming very unstable. They will attempt to react with anything to try to gain their electron back even resorting to attacking other molecules and stealing their electron. [2] That molecule then becomes a free radical. This chain reaction process of continual molecular change causes damage within the body’s cellular structure.[2]

Antioxidant act like the body’s police force attempting to cleanup the mess they cause and get rid of them before they start to cause real damage.

Goji Berries Fight Cancer and Other Degenerative Diseases

Goji berries contain antioxidants such as polyphenols, flavonoids, carotenoids and vitamins A, C and E.[1]

Diets rich in antioxidants can be beneficial to help fight the cell damaged caused by free radicals, Eating goji berries can help guard against degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, and most types of cancer.[1]

Several studies in the lab with cancer cells have shown that goji extracts may prevent the growth of the cancerous cells, reduce blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.[3]

Goji berries are also rich in lutein which helps fight the free radicals that cause degenerative aging of the body by boosting the body’s natural production of human growth hormone which is critical for repairing damaged cells.[1]

Help Eyesight and Prevent Degenerative Eye Disease

Goji berries are also rich in beta-carotene and zeaxanthin which helps fight the free radicals that cause degenerative eye disease.[1]

Zeaxanthin can protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light.

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.[3]

Ways to Get Goji Berries in Your Diet

Goji berries are great to eat as snacks. If you think they look like red raisins and don’t have a particular taste for raisins, relax. They are actually good. They are kind of like healthy gummy bear. I have eaten them with cereal, oatmeal and plain Greek yogurt.

I also like to add three or four of them to my morning smoothie. A regular blender will pulverize them so there are no remnants in your drink.

Honestly, I would eat more of them every day, but they have one major drawback. A pound of dried organic berries cost around $15 online plus tax and shipping, so that is not cheap. I imagine they would be more than that if you bought them in a health store.

Some research suggests that they help increase metabolism and boost energy levels so you may want to have a goji snack before exercising.[1]

Here are two great snack recipes that include goji Antioxidant Rich Goji Berries BenefitsCredit: Amazon.comberries.

Goji Berry Yogurt

  • 1/4 cup of goji berries
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of granola
  • 1 tsp of whey protein powder

To prepare, simply stir everything together until all of the whey protein is mixed in completely.

By the way, I use vanilla whey protein powder. Top off with a few blueberries.

Goji Energy Bars

  • 1/2 cup of raw pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup of soaked buckwheat
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1 cup of raw almonds
  • 1/3 cup of goji berries

Soak the buckwheat for 8-12 hours in water. Change the water at least once. Remove and drain the water.

Add the pine nuts, buckwheat, almonds, and goji berries into a blender and blend for 30 seconds.

In a separate bowl, add honey to the mixture in the blender. Add more berries during this process. Add water to moisten if needed.

Mold the mixture into the shape of bars and let dry for a few minutes. They are great when they have been left in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Healthworks Certified Organic Goji Berries, 16 Ounce
Amazon Price: $16.79 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 17, 2015)

Final Thoughts

Antioxidant Rich Goji Berries Benefits
Credit: Paul144 from Wikimedia Commons

I bought my first bag of Goji berries about a year ago. If you like gummy bears, then you will love these, and you can eat them guilt free.  Make sure you buy the brand that is certified organic.

However, as I said earlier, they are not cheap, but you can easily keep a pound bag for about a month just by snacking on a few each day.

They have been shown to boost metabolism so if you are looking to lose weight, they can help you curb your cravings while giving you more energy to exercise.

Dragon Herbs Heaven Mountain Goji Berries -- 8 oz
Amazon Price: $11.99 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 17, 2015)