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In the last couple years, goji berries have taken European and American markets by storm. They come from the Himalayas, where they have been used over centuries, not only as ingredients in recipes, but also in medicine, not only because of their extraordinary abilities. In Asia, they are also called “red diamonds”.
Goji berries or wolfsberries (lyceum barbarum) is a bush-type plant that grows from 3ft 3 to 9,9ft. There are also L.chinense type of berries, that grow in south China. They are smaller, but lyceum barbarum grows in the Ningxia Hui region and is a lot bigger. The fruit is orange-red colored, 0,3 to 0,6” long and has a lengthen form. Every berry has 10 to 60 seeds. They mature from July to October. They can be eaten raw, but they tend to oxidize fast and that’s because they are often sold dried. Because of their sweet taste, they often remind us of raisins. They can also be bought as tea and juice. The largest exporter and Breeder is, of course, China.
It’s interesting that the berries are present in England since the end of the eighteenth century, when Archibald Campbell, the Duke of Argyll, brought them into his homeland. It is by that time that they got the name “Duke of Argyll’s Tea Tree”, and they have also been accepted as ornamental and eatable plant. But, it is in the 21th century that goji berries gained large popularity as supergroceries, or groceries that are so nutritious, that the results of medical investigations state their potential of positive impact on our health.
Goji or ''Gou Qi Zi'' come from Tibet and are known as a holy plant that has been used for more over 6000 years. It has also been used in traditional medicine for good health and energy levels, but especially for vision corrections. One of the most profitablefruits to grow.
It is the most balanced and most healthy kind of food that grants you a healthy, happy and long life.
What abilities do goji berries have?
Because of their nutritious and anti-oxidizing abilities, they are used in traditional Chinese medicine since the dawn of time. The “western” world discovered them only in the last decade and has already declared them as “supergroceres”. Why?
Goji berries take the first place on the American ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). It’s a scale that measures oxygen absorbance of groceries and food. The higher the ranking, the higher the food capacity to destroy free radicals, which, if free and can duplicate, damage the health, accelerate the aging process which makes us be more vulnerable for degenerative changes.
3,3oz of goji berries have fantastic 25.300 units, compared to dried plumes (third place), which have “only” 5.770 units in 3,3oz. It is because of that that goji berries are considered the best food for revitalizing your organism and slow the aging process.
They also contain 68% carbon hydrates, 12% proteins, 10% fibers and 10% fat – 3,3oz have an estimated worth of 370 (kilo) calories.
What do goji berries contain?
Not only that they contain a large amount of vitamin C and iron (3,3oz contain 11mg of iron, which is the largest iron amount in a plant), they also contain many nutrients, phytonutrients (that give color, taste, smell and other characteristics and don’t have nutrient, but positive and functional worth for the human organism in sense of health and disease prevention), such as:
- 18 amino acids (8 of them which are essential for life)
- 6 essential vitamins (such as Riboflavin/ Vitamin B2/ Vitamin B2 and C Vitamin)
- 21 minerals (such as iron, zinc, selenium and calcium)
- 8 polysaccharides and 8 monosaccharides
- 5 unsaturated fatty acids, from which we are only going to state the linolean and alpha-linolean acid, which are essential for the right functions of the brain
- Beta-sitosterol (that reduces the amount of cholesterol) and other phytosterols
- 5 carotenoids (beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, lycopene, cryptoxanthin, xantophil)
- Many phenol pigments that can absorb oxygen .
Some facts about ingredients :
- Lutein has strong capacity of absorbing oxygen. It slows down the decay of the retina, which is the most common cause of blindness in people over 65.
- Beta-carotene turns to vitamin A when it enters the body and it helps you maintain a healthy vision.
- Zeaxhantin prevents the eyes from decaying of yellow dots, caused by free radical impact. It also helps you prevent many types of cancer, because it chains the stations of free radicals and reduces the amount of potential tumor stations.
- Betaine helps the liver to produce coline, which helps you reduce stress and also prevents you against a fat liver and also supports your memory system.
- Zyperone is good for your heart and helps you with high blood pressure. It is also used to fight cervical cancer.
- Physaline is used to fight hepatitis B and is also used to fight leukemia.
- Beta-sitoserolprevents you from inflaming.
One of the most valuable active ingredients of goji berries are polysaccharides, that support immunological functions of your organisms and help you fight a disease. Goji berries have a very important role in Chinese, Korean, Tibetan and Japanese traditional medicine for many years. Today, they are used because it is believed they can:
- Strengthen the immunological system
- Improve vision
- Improve circulation, relax blood vessels and have a good impact on high blood pressure
- Protect the liver and kidneys
- Have a positive impact on skin color
- Have a positive impact on the urinal tract and potency
- Can ease side effects of chemo and radio therapy
- Prevent back pain
- Help with diabetes.
They are even called “berries of happiness”, because it is believed that one does feel very happy and good if he consumes them regularly. Goji berries are neither medicine nor drugs, but they are one of the most valuable natural additions to food that help the entire organism.
Capacities of goji berries:
Short forORAC Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is the measure unit for antioxidizing capacity of groceries. Toxines damage the cells and accelerate the aging process. That’s because it is very important to keep the oxygen absorbance level as low as we can. Because of this capacity, goji berries have been classified as supergroceries. Their unit level per plant is placed number one for it’s capacity to destroy free radicals. After a study in the United States of America, it has been stated that 3,3oz of goji berries contain 25.300 ORAC units, considered that the optimal daily dose lies between 3.000 and 5.000 ORAC units in order to have oxygen absorbance protection of plasma and tissue.
Because of their sweet taste, goji berries can be consumed fresh or dried, as well as tea and juice or as addition to various drinks and meals.
Dried berries can be used as aromatic and taste additive in rice meals, refreshing soups, pork or chicken meals and vegetables, as well as additives to wine or bear, cakes, ice cream, candy and bread. They are also used for confitures, marmelades, joghurts, dips and spices. It is a specialty to add them to lamb soup.
Fresh berries are used for many stewed, fried or baked vegetable, meat and seafood meals, but also for candy and mash meals.
Young shoots and leaves are used as addition to baked pork and for many varieties of salads. The most qualitative way to use them is to make juice, but goji berry juice is also very expensive.
• Goji berry tea (anti stress tea): Add 3-4 dried goji berries to boiling water, cover it and let it stand for about 15 minutes. Sieve it through and consume it 3-4 times a day. Goji berry tea is full of oxygen absorbance, it supports the immune system and balances the stress impacted organism.