Nutrition

What Are Goji Berries And Why Are They Awesome?

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Breakfast berry smoothie bowl topped with goji berries,raspberry, blackberry, pumpkin, sunflower and chia seeds. soft focus

Image: Shutterstock/sarsmis

What Are Goji Berries And Why Are They Awesome?

Move aside açaí berries—goji berries are the newest hot commodity in the health food world. They’ve been cropping up everywhere, from celebrity instagram accounts to health food blogs, so we thought it was time to uncover the truth about these tiny, shriveled superfruits.

They might be the star product for the Whole Foods crowd, but are there any downsides to chomping down on gojis? Let’s find out more about these antioxidant-packed superfruits.

Where do goji berries come from?

Native to parts of Asia (mainly China) and southern Europe, gojis are harder to find in America… which is an influencing factor for their steep price in the States. Raw goji berries are around the size of the tip of your pinky finger, but they are almost impossible to find stateside.

Where can I buy goji berries?

Goji berries are typically sold at health food stores in sealed dried fruit bags or in the bulk section (sold by weight). You can also find them at certain specialty stores, herbal tea shops, and local Asian food markets. But if you’re actively searching for them, it’s always a good idea to call the store ahead of time to double check their inventory. It’s also easy and convenient to order them online, but they’ll likely be more expensive that way.

What are the health claims?

Because goji berries invoke the essence of both fruit and herb, they have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Claims of their benefit to treat diabetes, hypertension, malaria, and fever aren’t rooted in fact, but we do know their antioxidant potential.

Goji berries, along with other berries, are packed with beta-carotene, which is known to help promote healthy, glowing skin and protect the eyes. They also contain ample amounts of vitamin-C, which helps reduce the symptoms of the common cold and boost the overall immune system.

Their vitamin and mineral (antioxidant) content is key in their superfruit status. MedlinePlus defines antioxidants as, “man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage.” Beta-carotene and vitamin-C are key players in the antioxidant world, which makes goji berries shriveled gold.

How do you eat goji berries?

Goji berries are eaten in many different ways. Think of them as a usual berry, or like a raisin. You can top cereal or oats with them, add them to trail mixes, blend them into superfruit smoothies, or mix them with salads. They’re extremely versatile in that you can eat them raw or cook them any way you like. You might also see them in powder form at many health food stores.

Can anyone eat goji berries?

WebMD claims that goji berries aren’t a healthy option for some people. Those who take blood thinners and medications to treat diabetes might have an adverse reaction to eating the fruits. As with any change of your diet, it’s important to consult your physician before making the switch.

Mandy Burkholder is a travel, adventure, and outdoor writer who honed her craft in the foothills of the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado. After a stint in the Swiss Alps, she now resides in Tennessee. Follow her on twitter — @mandyburkhold3r

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