Goji Berries – A Pricey Anti-Cancer Superfood?

If you haven’t seen them, well it’s probably because they’re supposed to be pricey. But beneath the hype that you’ve been hearing about “Goji Berries”, they are packed with many health benefits including anti-cancer properties.

What are Goji Berries?

Goji Berries are both fruit and an herb, similar to blueberries and other wild berries you eat. Mostly grows in China and parts of Asia but have been used reportedly in Chinese traditional medicine for thousands of years. Sometimes they are called wolfberries, Chinese wolfberries, and Tibetan goji.

As a matter of fact, they are sold dried in packages or by weight at your local bulk food stores, herbal stores, specialty stores and markets in Chinatown. Also, they taste like typical berries with a certain sweetness and an herb-like aftertaste. And they contain tiny seeds which is the fiber content it adds to your diet.

They are eaten as is or steeped in hot water before eating. You can also add them to smoothies and trail mixes, or as a garnish in salads, yogurts or breakfast cereals. They can also be baked.

They are reported to be expensive too. A 500-gram bag of dried goji berries can go up to US$15-20 when retailed at US produce stores. Organically grown ones can sell up to US$30-40 too. Asian convenience stores would be your best bet for the best prices.

What are the health benefits?

These little berries have the following health benefits:

A rich source of antioxidants

Like blueberries and raspberries, goji berries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that fight free radicals. A serving of goji berries provides at least 4 grams of protein and 18 different amino acids like iron, Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), zinc and other minerals.

It also reportedly contains more beta-carotene than carrots which gives you that glowing skin and more iron than spinach and soybeans.

Enhances your immune system

As a great source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, it can help boost your immune system against colds and flu. It provides protection against more debilitating diseases like cancer or other degenerative diseases affecting your nerves and muscles.

Antioxidants present in goji berries contain carotenoids that fight cancerous tumors and cells. And it also reduce inflammation and remove toxins from the body.

Protects and improves your skin

A veterinary study conducted at the University of Sydney. It indicated that a 5% concentration of goji juice provides substantial protection against skin disorders and protection against UV light damage. Great to be used as body and face creams!

Great protection for eyes

They are also beneficial for improved vision and as a treatment for macular degeneration because of the high presence of antioxidants, particularly zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin helps protect against free radicals, damage from being exposed to UV light, and oxidative stress.

Finally, goji berries are low calorie, free of fats, and are rich in fiber – great for weight management too!

So there it is. Would you care to buy a pack of goji berries in your next trip to the grocer’s? Share your comments or experiences with goji berries in the comments section below!

Image by Miheco / CC BY 2.0