Goji Berries: Worthy of the Name “Superfood”
Grown in India, Tibet, and China, goji berries have been given the title of superfood because they are one of the world’s most nutritionally rich foods. These small fruits, no bigger than the size of raisins, contain ample amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phytonutrients. With 18 amino acids, they are considered complete proteins. Pound for pound, they contain more vitamin C than any other fruit on the planet (sorry, oranges), and they have more iron than spinach (something for Popeye to contemplate). In all, they have 21 key trace minerals our bodies need to function and be healthy, including vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin B-complex, vitamin E, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, selenium, calcium, iron, copper, etc.
Goji berries are considered one of the best sources for antioxidants. Antioxidants are very important to the human body because they protect our DNA from cell damage caused by harmful free radicals and radiation. Without them, our bodies are more susceptible to aging and deteriorating. People who have diets high in foods containing antioxidants tend to stay youthful-looking much longer. Antioxidants reduce our risk of cancer, as it is free radical damage to cells that eventually turns these cells cancerous. But since goji berries protect the body against free radical damage, the likelihood of the damage being severe enough to become cancerous becomes reduced. Goji berries also help to diminish side effects of chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
Carotenoids are an important antioxidant found in goji berries. Carotenoids are one of the many reasons our mothers always wanted us to eat our carrots when we were kids. They help to improve vision, and reduce the risk of eye-related illnesses. They also increase our life’s longevity. Goji berries contain many more carotenoids than carrots.
Goji berries enhance our body’s immunity, making it 300% more effective, so make sure to stock up on these amazing little fruits during the cold and flu season. Polysaccharides, beta-carotene, and germanium are the three key aspects that give them their immune-boosting qualities. Goji berries are known to also be anti-inflammatory.
Eating these fruits can help our bodies produce an important nutrient called choline, which also reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Choline is vital for brain formation in both fetuses and infants, and it may even be able to inhibit memory loss due to aging.
As mentioned earlier, goji berries can increase the longevity of one’s lifespan. Not only is this true because of the carotenoids they contain, but because they are good for the blood, the kidneys, and the liver. Since goji berries have a high iron content, they help the body build new red blood cells. They naturally lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
The idea that goji berries can extend one’s life was made popular by a Chinese herbalist named Li Ching Yuan. Li Ching Yuan had met a Taoist hermit that lived in the mountains. The hermit claimed to be over 500 years old. His secret, he told Li Ching Yuan, was his daily consumption of goji berries. The old man advised that he should eat a soup comprised of goji berries every day. Li Ching Yuan followed the old man’s advice, and lived to a very ripe old age himself. It is speculated that he lived to be 256 years old, although there is no way of proving it. Some records report that he was born in 1677 while others believe him to be born in 1736. All sources verify that he died in 1933. So either way, whether he was born in 1677 or 1736; whether he lived to be 197 or 256 years old, his lifespan far exceeds that of normal lifespans—perhaps thanks to goji berries!