Goji berries are small fruits rich in beneficial properties and easy to use in the daily diet. Goji berries are a food that in recent years has depopulated among lovers of natural health and well-being. But what are the properties and benefits of these berries of Tibetan origin? Let’s find out how to use them and also the possible contraindications.
Goji berries (Lycium barbarum) belong to the Solanaceae family and have long been appreciated in the countries where they grow most luxuriantly (Tibet, Mongolia and some regions of China) thanks to their properties for which they have also earned the nickname of “fruits of long life “.
In fact, these small red berries boast various health benefits due in particular to the presence of some active ingredients contained in them.
Goji berries are readily available in many versions, the most common being dried berries followed by juice which must contain 100% goji to be of good quality.
There are also products enriched with these berries such as muesli, bars, biscuits, dried fruit mixes, soups and much more. More difficult to find fresh fruit available. But now let’s move on to the properties of the Goji.
Goji berries: properties and benefits
Goji berries, known internationally as Goji Berry or Goji Berries, provide about 350 calories per 100gr of product, are rich in fiber, vitamin C and antioxidant substances that give it interesting properties. Specifically, goji berries counteract cellular aging, give a healthy appearance to skin and hair, promote weight loss and give a sense of satiety, regulate the intestine, are good for the eyes and support the immune system. Before knowing them, however, let’s take a look at the nutritional values of these berries.
Nutritional values per 100g of dried goji berries:
- Waterfall: 7.5 g
- kcal: 349
- Proteins: 14.26 g
- Fat: 0.39 g
- of which saturated: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 77.06 g
- of which sugars: 45.61 g
- Fibers: 13 g
- C vitamin: 48.4 mg
- Vitamin A: 26822 IU
- Glycemic index: 29
- Cholesterol: 0 g
Among the most interesting properties of goji berries there is the richness in antioxidants: above all flavonoids, carotenoids and linoleic acid, useful for fighting free radicals and therefore cellular aging. This is why Goji is considered a fruit of longevity.
✓ Full of vitamins and minerals
Eating the right amount of goji berries allows you to fill up on vitamins (especially vitamin C) and minerals. These small fruits, among other things, are also rich in amino acids. In general, therefore, they have an energizing effect.
✓ They help the immune system
Thanks to their content of vitamin C and other substances, goji berries are a good support for the immune system in the daily defense against viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms.
✓ Regulate blood sugars
These berries have a low glycemic index and help keep blood sugars at bay.
✓ They stimulate the metabolism and regulate the intestine
Among the benefits of goji berries there is the ability to stimulate the metabolism, which concretely means that they can also be used in slimming diets as an aid to have a greater fat-burning effect. Thanks to the presence of fibers, then, they help to better regulate intestinal functions.
✓ Few calories, lots of satiety
In the face of a good sense of satiety, these berries bring few calories to our body in proportion to the recommended consumption (in fact it is recommended to consume only 15-20 grams per day). They can therefore be used as a hunger breaker in mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks even if you are following a weight loss diet.
✓ Beneficial for heart health
Thanks to their properties, goji berries help to keep blood cholesterol under control and prevent its oxidation, a phenomenon underlying the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.
✓ Beneficial for sight
Thanks to the presence in these small fruits of active ingredients such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, a constant consumption of Goji can help the health of the eyes and sight. It is also useful for supporting tired eyesight after hours of computer work.
The properties of goji berries make this food very interesting but do not think you will find in them the panacea for all ills. As always, in fact, it is not the single product that makes the difference but an overall balanced diet combined with a healthy lifestyle.
How to use goji berries and how many to eat
Goji is commercially available in the form of berries (dried or more rarely fresh), extracts, teas or juices. Goji is widely used in the kitchen for the preparation of wonderful soups, combined with smoothies, to flavor dishes and much more.
First of all, however, let’s start by saying how many berries to eat per day. To see the benefits of goji berries it is recommended that you use 1 tablespoon or two of dried berries every day for at least 3 to 4 weeks.
If you choose to drink the juice instead, on the market you will find diluted and ready-to-drink juices or concentrated products, for which it is good to follow the instructions given on the package. Generally, however, we recommend a daily use of about 20-25 ml diluted in water, preferably between meals. Let’s now see some ideas on how to use goji berries.
1. Goji berry tea
Goji berry tea is very simple to prepare and has antioxidant and regenerating properties, thanks to the presence of these ruby red berries. The preparation is very simple: you need a tablespoon of goji berries and lemon juice (optional) then proceed as follows:
- Put about 200 ml of water to boil in a saucepan;
- Turn off the heat and pour in a tablespoon of dried goji berries;
- Cover and leave to infuse for 15 minutes, pour into a cup and, if desired, add the juice of a lemon wedge. Alternatively, you can filter the herbal tea and eat the goji berries used during preparation separately.
It is also possible to drink up to 3 cups of herbal tea a day, for quite long periods of 3-4 weeks, and then take a break for a week. If you prefer or if you have little time, you can prepare more herbal tea and then drink it at room temperature during the day, taking it comfortably with you.
2. Additions to yogurt
Goji berries are well suited to be added to a natural white yogurt or to a soy or rice variant. Excellent for breakfast, for example, together with other fresh fruit.
3. Blend or in fruit salad
These berries can be used dried or pulverized to give an extra touch and enrich fruit and vegetable smoothies or combined with a fresh or dried fruit salad.
4. To make an original muesli
You can combine oat flakes, dried fruit to taste and a spoonful of goji berries to make a “home made” muesli that is always fresh and different to combine with milk or yogurt to make a healthy breakfast or snack.
5. In the salad
Goji berries can also be added to savory dishes as can be a nice salad prepared with lettuce, carrots, corn, olives, etc.
Furthermore, thanks to their antioxidant properties, goji berries are also allies of beauty. To find out how to use them to make moisturizing masks for skin care, read our article: Goji berries: benefits for the skin and advice on use.
Goji berries: botanical information
Lycium Barbarum is a plant native to Asia, especially Tibet. The plant looks like a shrub, capable of reaching 2 meters in height and producing purple flowers. The berries of this plant are used, which appear as small and delicate red fruits with a diameter of 1-2 cm.
Goji berries have been widely used in Asia for centuries and only a few years ago made their appearance on the market until they became very popular and widely consumed. This product is considered a staple in Chinese medicine.
How to grow Goji
Native to areas with harsh winters, the Goji plant can be put in pots without fear of frost. It forms a shrub that reaches 2 meters in height, with long branches covered with lanceolate leaves. The plant prefers a sunny position and does not require a lot of water. It is preferable to wait until the earth is completely dry between waterings. In spring, organic fertilizer should be administered once every 15 days. During flowering, the plant becomes covered with small lilac flowers which will then give life to the berries.
It should be borne in mind that the Goji plant needs a few years before starting to produce fruit as it grows very slowly. If you have a way then, it is better to buy it ready to bear fruit. If, on the other hand, you decide to take goji seeds, the optimal time for sowing is in late spring. Bury the seeds a few centimeters and gently wet them with water. Keep out of direct sunlight for the first 2 to 3 weeks. The seedlings should be born about 10/15 days after sowing.
Goji berries: contraindications
Goji berries have some contraindications. People who suffer from allergies to Solanaceae (tomatoes, aubergines, peppers and potatoes) of which we remember Goji is a part should categorically avoid them.
Even those who take some types of drugs should be very careful and talk to their doctor first, we refer in particular to anticoagulants, drugs to keep high blood pressure at bay and those for diabetes.
In all these cases, in fact, the active ingredients of goji could interfere by strengthening or, on the contrary, nullifying the effect of the medicines. If anything, sporadic consumption is recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding as there are no studies that demonstrate its harmlessness.
Goji berries: price and sale
Goji berries or Goji Berry are now easily found even in traditional supermarkets in the department dedicated to healthy or organic food. You can also buy them in herbalist’s shops, well-stocked pharmacies, in organic shops and finally online.
We advise you to always buy organic goji berries to avoid traces of pesticides. As for the origin, however, the best qualities seem to be those coming from Tibet and its surroundings. It should be emphasized, however, that it is not a 0 km product and those who care most about the environment can choose those from our country.
The price of goji berries varies greatly depending on the area of origin, the quality but also the format in which there is more or less fruit content. It starts from about 5 USD for 70 grams of non-organic product up to over 15 USD for organic goji berries in larger quantities.