Goji berries small, orange-red berries native to China. You might also know them as Chinese wolfberries or just wolfberries. In China, where they’re called “happy berries,” the benefits of goji berries are legendary.The berries are still primarily grown in China and Tibet and are often dried before transport as the ripe berries don’t ship well overseas. They are also pressed into goji berry juice for sale overseas.
An aphrodisiac in Chinese medicine
The Chinese were really the first to explore the benefits of goji berry. And in traditional Chinese applications, the fruit is administered to strengthen the adrenal system, which is believed to be a center of sexual energy. So highly regarded was this goji benefit that it even found its way into an ancient, Chinese proverb. It warns men who travel away from their lovers: “He who travels one thousand kilometers from home should not eat goji.”
Today, we know that goji is a source of several nutrients beneficial to sexual health, including iron and vitamin C. And it is a source of l-arginine, an amino acid that turns into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide is noted as beneficial to heart health but it is also known to improve the sexual performance of men suffering from erectile dysfunction.
Additional health benefits of goji berries
We now know what the ancient Chinese believed to be true about goji berry nutrients. In addition to the nutrients mentioned about linked with improving sexual health, goji is rich in many other nutrients that can benefit overall health. And one of the benefits of goji berries is that they are relatively low calorie for the amount of nutrition they offer. Nutrition experts estimate the calories of goji berries at about 70 per quarter cup serving.
And with goji berry calories at just 70 per serving, you’re getting the benefits of protein, fiber, copper selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B2 and zinc. And along with all these nutrients comes the promise of some powerful benefits, not just to sexual health but possibly to your skin, hair, energy, immunity and even your heart.
Clinical tests have demonstrated goji berries help lower bad cholesterol. In addition, the goji berry’s nutritional claims include one of the highest contents of beta carotene of all fruits. As such, goji berries are recommended by health food practitioners to help you look and feel young. They’re like the culinary version of the fountain of youth.
Some skin care companies tout the benefits of goji berries on skin. The recommendation makes sense, however I cannot find any clinical studies to support the claim that the benefits of goji berries can be used topically to improve skin health.
How to serve goji berries
As I explained earlier, the berries are typically sold dried in most parts of the world. Dried goji have a sweet/sour taste is like an intense cross between a dried cranberry and a golden raisin.
They are used in cooking similarly to a dried cranberry or can be tossed on salads or added to trail mix. In China, the dried fruit is cooked into savory chicken or pork stew and is also steeped as an herbal tonic. The Chinese even make wine from what they consider to be one of the most powerfully nutritious foods. (I even found a recipe for a goji berry wine online. However this goji berry recipe is probably one I wouldn’t ever try myself!)
Where to buy goji berry
If you want to try out the benefits of goji berries for yourself, you can find the dried fruit for sale in many health food and natural foods stores. Goji berry extract is also sold online and in the vitamin department of many big pharmacies.
Goji berry tea shows up frequently when I search for goji berries online. I’ve not tried a tea made from goji berry leaves myself, so I can’t attest to the taste. But I do know that in ancient herbal medicine, it was ranked among the most powerful herbs. You can find goji leaf teas online. Just be sure to specify goji leaf tea, otherwise what you’ll get is a green or black tea tossed with dried goji berries.
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