Sometimes the best things come in the smallest packages! What am I referring to? The tiny goji berry, which is one of nature’s most nutritionally complete foods.
Never heard of it? Goji berries are referred to as “red diamonds” in their native Himalayan China and Tibet. The bite-size super foods contain 18 different amino acids, aka the building blocks for protein, including 8 of the 9 essential food-based amines that our body cannot produce on their own. This makes them especially crucial for vegetarians and vegans who are not eating complete animal proteins like eggs, fish, and meat products.
Goji berries are sold around the world and are usually packaged as dried berries. (They kind of look like pink raisins.) You can find them in most health food stores and increasingly in regular grocery stores too. The berries are pretty sweet in taste, but they’re also pretty complex tasting overall because of all the nutrients and minerals they deliver.
History of Goji Berries
Goji berries have always played an integral part in Chinese medicinal practices since ancient times, dating back as far as 5,000 years! They are still prescribed for their eye, liver, and kidney-supporting properties and they are also believed to boost “chi”, or invigorating life energy, in those who eat them. There are many well-documented claims that daily consumption of goji berries played a key role in unbelievable longevity: one man even claimed to have lived 252 years! (I’m not convinced of his math, but still!)
Super Food Superpowers
Here’s a cheat sheet on the benefits you can expect from go-go-goji berries:
- Contains 21 trace minerals like zinc, iron, copper, calcium, and phosphorus
- Richest source of carotenoids of all known foods on earth. Way more than even carrots!
- 500x more Vitamin C than oranges by weight
- 8 of 9 essential amino acids, almost a complete protein
- Supports eye, liver, and kidney health
- Boosts energy
- Promotes longevity
Get Your Goji Fix
You can eat the berries on their own, but here are some more options for taking them in:
1) Blend into fruit smoothies. Take your favorite fresh or frozen fruit, blend with your favorite nut milk, then simply add a scoop of goji berries. They go great with chia seeds, pomegranate powder, or any superfood powders, too!
2) Sprinkle onto oatmeal or cereal. Checkout these other ways to keep your oatmeal boredom at bay.
3) Add into trail mixes and nut mixes.
4) Soak in water to create goji tea. When soaked in hot or cold water, goji berries swell and release their nutrients into the water.
May 8th, 2014