Recently I was at a friend’s house, he was just home from school, and as we were drinking red wine the question of antioxidants came up. As a health care professional he had fairly strong opinions on best “anti-oxidation practices” and insisted that I try a new berry that he found miraculous. Even though he is an authority on healthy food, I was skeptical, mostly because my friend is a prankster. Anyhow, he left the table and returned with these curious little red berries and a smirk on his face.
He told me they were healthy treats from the himalayan mountains. Uh huh. My first instinct was to look out the window and see if there a hole in his shrub from where he had just plucked these silly little berries. He did after considerable protest produce the packaging…. and I was introduced to the venerable Goji Berry.
The goji berry is an ancient berry that grows wild in China, when I say ancient I mean the last 2000 years…not like “Wow check out that tryadatcyle feasting on goji berries”. It is known also as the ”Chinese Wolfberry” or the “Matrimony Vine”. Some say that these berries were named after wolves, because when they ripened farmers observed wolves literally seeking them out and eating them! Not sure why they call it the “matrimony vine” and I’m not going to speculate…. I’m going to leave that one alone. Anyhow goji berries are a macronutrient powerhouse: they are rich in calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, selenium, riboflavin, and vitamin C.
In animal experiments, gogi berries were shown to both preserve DNA and to minimize DNA damage. Pretty cool, if you worried about getting older or if you’re like me and want to keep your charming baby face babyish forever.
Another closely related study found that sugars in the gogi berry, called polysaccharides, can shield cells found in, er, testicles, from harm from free radicals. So it’s a man-friendly drink to boot.
And if that’s not enough, the gogi berry also protects the brain from Alzheimer’s disease. What’s more, in 1988, the State Scientific and Technology Commission of China stated that consuming a little less than two ounces or 50 grams of gogi berries can increase the amount of white blood cells in your body. In other words, these little things can enhance your immune system.
Oh, and did I mention, they also protect the liver? Well, they do. They’re apparently made up of a substance called cerebrosides which is better than protecting the liver than milk thistle (the more well known compound used to treat liver disease).
If I haven’t blown your mind away yet, there’s another study that shows gogi berries can retard the growth of leukemia cells found in humans. Okay, I know that did it. You are fully convinced now. Your lingering hesitation is gone. You want to devour them. But hey, first you need to know what they taste like. Well, it depends on the batch you get. The shriveled red berries can sometimes be sweet and sometimes slightly sour. They are a great alternative to raisins for a healthy snack!
You can also can drink the benefits. Gogi tea is one option or you can drink Gogi juice!