What is a Goji Berry?
The goji berry (pronounced go-gee) is a Himalayan red berry native to South Eastern Europe and Asia. When dried, they resemble a raisin but have a mild tangy taste that is slightly sweet and sour.
Goji berry juice and tea are also popular, but the most common way you’ll find them is dried. You can add these to oatmeal, granola, dry cereal, smoothies and can be used in baking.
Goji berries are a relatively new superfood. What makes them so SUPER!?! For centuries, they have been used in Chinese medicine to improve eyesight, fertility, circulation, strengthen the legs, boost immune function, and promote longevity. Gram for gram, they have more Vitamin C than most oranges and more beta carotene than carrots. There have been test tube studies that show that goji berries contain antioxidants that may prevent the growth of cancer cells, reduce blood glucose and lower cholesterol levels.
They have been known to interact with blood thinner and high blood pressure medications. People taking these medications are advised not to consume goji berries raw, as juice or tea. People who have an allergy to pollen have been known to have difficulty in breathing, hives, nausea, and dizziness.
The Real Truth
Unfortunately, there isn’t enough evidence yet to confirm all these health claims. Most of the studies have been industry-sponsored. Goji berries are also quite costly (approximately $10 per 200g), and while the berry and its juices are antioxidant-rich, there are numerous other options on the market (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries) that are grown close to home, and at a fraction of the cost.
So what do I think?! I actually really liked this little red berry and although they are expensive, I will continue to use them sparingly. I don’t think I will shell out the extra cash for the juice or tea, but so far I’ve liked adding them to oatmeal, granola and smoothies.
Have you tried goji berries? Do you think it’s all hype or another amazing superfood?