Goji berries - the healthiest snack in the world
Text and photos: Mariola Weindich-Mašek
8 January 2017
Goji berries –fruits of Chinese boxthorn, are becoming more and more popular and appreciated all over the world. They are in fact rich in nutrients. They strengthen immunity, improve eyesight, protect liver, they also have strong antioxidant activity. They are characterized by a sweet flavour and they taste the best straight from the tree, but they are also excellent snack when they are dried.
Wolfberry is a shrub of the nightshade (Solanaceae) family. In Poland, it is mostly planted as an ornamental plant, but in China it is valued above all for its nutritional and medicinal properties. The best known are two species: scarlet and common. Its fruits have bright orange or red colour, they are called goji, they have high content of valuable nutrients. The Chinese cuisine uses also leaves and roots.
While Goji berries in Poland have just started gaining popularity, in Asia they are well-known and appreciated for thousands of years. In comparison with other fruits, fresh goji fruits contain the biggest amount of zeaxanthin, β-carotene, riboflavin, selenium and iron. They also contain vitamins: C, E and B group (B1, B2, B6) and calcium, potassium and zinc. In addition – they are high in dietary fibre, antioxidants, lutein, flavonoids as well as polysaccharides and germanium which are strengthening the immune system.
Thanks to wealth of antioxidants, eating them can help in building new cells and in regenerating old body cells, in protecting DNA from damage caused by free radicals and in slowing the aging process. Zeaxanthin and lutein facilitate the correct vision. The content of dietary fibre regulates the digestive system and improves its work, that is why wolfberry fruits are a good snack for people on a diet.
Mix of nutrients present in the wolfberry fruits, may have a reinforcing effect on the joints and bones. It improves mood and memory, as well as the composition of the blood, it eliminates fatigue. Studies on animals showed the properties of lowering blood pressure and blood sugar.
Goji fruit can be eaten straight from the tree. They taste delicious when they are dried. The fruits as well as the leaves are also components of healthy teas. Dried fruits are a great addition to pastries and cereal bars and muesli.
Goji fruit should not consumed by pregnant women and during lactation, or by people who are taking anticoagulants.