The Many Health Benefits of Goji Berries

Goji berries, a small, bright red fruit, may not at first glance appear to hold any extraordinary health benefits. However, these nutrient-dense berries, which taste like a cross between cranberry, cherry, and tomato, have been gaining popularity among health food bloggers and enthusiasts. Here’s a closer look at the many health benefits of goji berries.

China Qinghai Goji Berries

Goji berries are native to parts of Asia, particularly the Himalayan mountain region of Tibet, where they have been used for thousands of years for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Fresh goji berries, which grow on lush vines and resemble miniature Roma tomatoes, are rare to find in the U.S., but you can easily find dried goji berries and goji berry powder at health food stores and well-stocked supermarkets.

The many health benefits of goji berries include their rich content of antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals, which are harmful compounds that can lead to diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Goji berries also contain vitamins and minerals that support overall health, including vitamin C, iron, and zinc.

In addition to their antioxidant content, goji berries may also help improve vision. A study published in the Journal of Vision found that subjects who took goji berry extract for three months experienced significant improvements in night vision and visual acuity compared to those who took a placebo. Other research has shown that goji berries may also help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, making them a valuable addition to a heart-healthy diet.

To enjoy the many health benefits of goji berries, you can add them to both sweet and savory recipes. The easiest way to incorporate dried goji berries into your cooking is to use them the way you would raisins. You can sprinkle them on top of your morning oatmeal or porridge, add them to trail mix, or use them as a snack by the handful. If you prefer a more hydrated version, you can soak dried goji berries in hot water for a few minutes until they’ve softened. When rehydrated, goji berries taste almost like a “very sweet cherry tomato,” according to Julie Morris, the executive chef of Navitas Naturals, a health foods company that sells organic dried goji berries.

You can also fold hydrated goji berries into spiced rice and grain pilafs, salsas, and even chili. Morris suggests using goji berries as a pizza topping or in stir-fry dishes to enhance their sweet-tart flavor with complementary ingredients such as onions, garlic, and ginger.

In conclusion, goji berries offer a unique combination of health benefits that make them a popular superfood. From their rich content of antioxidants to their ability to improve vision and support heart health, goji berries are a valuable addition to any health-conscious diet. To enjoy the many benefits of goji berries, incorporate them into your cooking both sweet and savory recipes or use them as a snack by the handful.

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