Goji berries are a member of the nightshade family, native to Asia, but grown at the moment all around the world, with China being the lead in production and export. They have been used in Chinese medicine for the past 6000 years and while the lack of high-quality studies puts their medicinal value under question, the fact that these berries are rich in nutrients cannot be disputed. Therefore, as they are one of the most nutritionally dense fruit on Earth, the label of superfood fits goji berries nicely. Now let‘s see some of the advantages derived from consuming such a high power fruit.
Why Consuming Goji Berries?
1. One serving of dried goji berries (1oz=28g) has 104kcal which makes them a highly nutritional calorie-dense food . The low fat content of 1g per serving with no cholesterol or saturated fats protects against cardiovascular disease. Hence they can be incorporated into a daily meal plan as a healthy snack or mixed with fruit/greens in a post-workout smoothie with a kick.
2. Goji berries have a low glicemic index of 29 which translates into a slower conversion of carbohydrates into blood sugar. As a result, they are most likley to satisfy rather than increase appetite and favour binge eating of empty calories.
3. Consumption is the only way of introducing essential aminoacids into the body. Goji berries contain all 8 of them, so they can be used as an alternative to meat or dairy products that can be high in saturated fats. Moreover, they have the added value of being an excellent source of complete protein (4g per serving) for vegans or vegetarians.
4. With 4 g of fiber per serving, goji beries can become a staple food for a high-fiber diet that will reduce the risk of colon cancer and constipation since it promotes motility in the intestine and helps eliminate waste.
5. One serving of dried goji berries contains 180 percent of the required daily amount of vitamin A (more than carrots which are traditionally considered an important source of vitamin A). A natural antioxidant, it protects against the free radicals that can cause cell damage and helps in cell reproduction. Furthermore vitamin A is required for good eyesight since it has been proven that a deficiency can cause retinal degeneration.
6. Iron is an essential component of haemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen throughout the body. If deficient, it can lead to anemia which can cause dizziness, fatigue and shortness of breath. Goji berries are a great source of iron as one serving provides 15 percent of the daily recommended value.
7. Another powerful antioxidant is vitamin C. With one serving containing 30 percent of the daily value of vitamin C, goji berries provide aid in the healing of wounds, in the repair of healthy bones and teeth and the production of collagen.
Goji Berry Smoothie Recipe
As I am sure that you are now all convinced of the benefits of introducing goji berries into your meal plan, I will offer a tried and tested suggestion and hope that you will enjoy it as much as I have.
A simple goji berry smoothie recipe includes:
- one serving of goji berries;
- one medium banana;
- 2-3 cups of fresh spinach;
- a scoop of chocolate protein powder (or simple cacao powder);
- a small yogurt or some water.
Let us know if you have any other suggestions in the comment section below.