They’re small, red, and power packed, and the world’s health fundis are hailing them as the latest addition to the ‘superfruit’ family. The Goji phenomenon hit America and Europe a couple years ago, and since then, its popularity has continued to steadily climb. You’ll find the little crimson berries in a host of weight loss programmes, multi-vitamins and sports-maintenance products, as well as a wide variety of juices, smoothies and nutritious snacks. For all of you out there who haven’t heard much about this feisty little fruit, I’ve done some research and put together a list of 7 facts about Goji berries.
One important fact about Goji berries is that they've been around a long time. Goji berries, also known as ‘wolfberries,’ originate in China and the Himalayas. There they have been cultivated, produced and consumed for thousands of years, and remain a popular ingredient in a variety of dishes today. They also form the basis for numerous traditional remedies, and are used to make medicinal tea infusions.
Goji berries are chock-a-block with vitamins and anti-oxidants. Their impressive nutritional profile includes beta-carotene, Vitamins C, B1 and B2, lutein and lycopene. In fact, experts tell us the only substances richer in nutrients are phytoplankton and bee pollen – and neither of these have the advantage of a convenient berry shape and pleasant, fruity taste.
Their ability to increase energy is another vital fact about Goji berries. Both traditional Chinese healers and the European and American Goji marketing campaigns claim that the berries will help to bolster energy levels and support athletic performance. Until recently, these were contentious statements. However, a recent, double blind study has confirmed that regular consumption of Goji berries does indeed increase energy and will thus help to improve physical fitness.
Goji berries are rich in polysaccharides. These compounds help the body to fight off disease and illness, and thus bolster the immune system. In addition, the berries are packed with Zinc and Vitamin C, both of which are instrumental in battling sickness and accelerating recovery.
One fact about Goji berries is really contributing to their increasing popularity. Goji berries have been tested as an anti-obesity agent, and studies have, so far, yielded positive results. Their very low glycemic index helps to break the crash-crave-binge cycle, and they contain a variety of compounds which help your body quickly to convert food to energy rather than storing it as fat. In addition, they promote the development of lean muscle and, as already established, they help to boost athletic performance.
Goji berries are packed full of anti-oxidants, as we’ve seen. These help to protect you from the damaging effects of free-radicals which inhibit the body’s capacity to effectively repair itself. In addition, the fruit is a good source of potassium and amino acids, both of which help to stimulate the production of growth hormone that keeps you looking young.
While they are undoubtedly extremely nourishing and thus very good for you, regular consumption of Goji berries can interfere with the functioning of certain drugs. Some anticoagulants, for example, might be affected. If you are taking a variety of prescription medications, it’s a good idea to chat to your doctor before embarking on a Goji-rich diet.
There is a lot of hype surrounding the Goji berry, and as with all health trends, some of this is bound to be unfounded. However, while the Goji berry probably isn’t the miracle fruit it’s often made out to be, there is no doubt that it has many very positive properties. That concludes my list of 7 facts about Goji Berries: do you have any facts of your own to add to it?
Top Photo Credit: moodlez
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