Goji Berries: A Superfood Handed Down for 2,500 Years

Goji Berries. (Marek Uliasz/iStock/ThinkStock)
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By Rowena Tsai

As I grab a handful of goji berries and toss them into the blender filled with fruits and leafy greens, my mom chuckles from across the kitchen.

Why the chuckle, dear Mother? To her, it’s slightly amusing that superfoods like goji berries have only started to become widely known in the West, while these berries have been widely used in Chinese medicine for more than 2,500 years.

So what exactly are these goji berries, and why are these orange-red berries popping up everywhere? Despite being smaller than raisins, they pack a surprisingly mean punch full of nutrients and antioxidants. These berries are low in calories, fat-free, and high in fiber.

As knowledge passed down from generations ago, Chinese people believe that consuming goji berries would bestow longevity and anti-aging benefits. Although studies have not proven such facts, preliminary studies have found that goji berry juice promotes mental well-being, feelings of good health, calmness, happiness, quality of sleep, and athletic performance according to WebMD.com.

Goji berries are sweet and slightly tart like cranberries, with a faint earthy herb-like aftertaste. These berries can be consumed raw, cooked, and dried. I liked adding a small handful of goji berries to hot water with ginseng bits in the morning for an herbal tea. It’s a great topping for acai bowls and tastes delicious in smoothies as a natural sweetener.

With all the health benefits, these magic berries can get a little pricey. An eight-ounce pack of dried goji berries will run you upward of $20.

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