Red Diamonds from Asia – Goji Berries and Their Health Value
Goji berries are an exotic fruit that grows on an evergreen plant. They can be found in subtropical regions in Mongolia, China and Tibetan Himalayas. They are defined by their raisin-like shape and orange-red color. In Asia they’ve been called “red diamonds”, for their high nutrition value.
Goji berries are usually sold in dried form when utilized by traditional Chinese medicine. Besides goji berries, goji berry juice is also very popular and can be found alongside other fruit juices like noni juice, acai berry, camu camu, mangosteen and tart cherries.
Health Benefits of Goji Berries
Goji berries are a great source of antioxidants (polyphenols, carotenoids, flavonoids) and vitamins C, A and E. Although they have been used for long time in traditional Chinese medicine, for their safety and effectiveness in supplement form, there is a lack of analysis.
Goji berries are rich in zeaxanthin, an antioxidant which defend the eyes from sun’s ultraviolet rays. Studies suggest that lutein and zeaxanthin in the eyes decrease tendency of cataracts, age-related ocular degeneration and promote better vision. Therefore if you have poor or disintegrating eyesight, consider upgrading your diet with more goji berries.
2. General Health
In the past years, goji juice is considered as a very healthy beverage. Commercial companies often mention the legend of a man who has drunk goji berries daily. His name was Li Qing Yuen and he lived for 252 years. Here are some of the claims:
• protect the liver
• improve fertility and sexual function
• strengthen the legs
• hair and skin health
• promote weight loss
• improve circulation
• boost immune function
• promote longevity
Until now, there is not any concrete scientific support for these claims.
Certain lab studies tell that extracts from goji berry may lower cholesterol levels and slower cancer cells to grow. But, it is too early to recommend this in cancer treatment.
How goji berries taste
Goji berries have sour and slightly sweet taste. Dried berries have chewy texture and a similar shape.
Where to find them
Whole goji berries can be easily found at Chinese herbal stores and at some stores for healthy food. They can also be found online.