I've recently become a fan of the goji berry, a "superfood" that, according to the Health Studies Journal:
- Helps safeguard vision and may prevent macular degeneration
- Boosts immune function
- May protect against heart disease
But before we go into the specific benefits of goji berries, we should take a moment to discuss "superfoods" and whether they're really as "super" as their proponents say. Let's get it out of the way early: Superfoods are not weight-loss miracles. However, superfoods are an excellent addition to a balanced diet, and if you are committed to eating healthy foods, you can't go wrong by adding them to yours. But remember: They aren't a dietary silver bullet.
That said, goji berries - like blueberries and most other berries - are rich in antioxidants. In fact, it is the goji berry's antioxidant content that provides the majority of its health benefits. Foods rich in antioxidants help protect the body from illnesses that result from the excessive presence of free radicals, including cancer.
Here are a few of the antioxidants and vitamins you'll be stocking up on when you begin eating healthy, antioxidant-rich goji berries:
- Vitamin A. Goji berries are an excellent source of vitamin A, which helps boost immunity and protects vision. Some studies have concluded that vitamin A may also help prevent and protect against heart disease.
- Beta carotene. Beta carotene is an essential antioxidant that helps protect vision. It is often found in orange foods such as pumpkins, carrots, and goji berries.
- Zeaxanthin. It's hard to pronounce, so you know it means business! Unlike the unpronounceable additives in processed foods, however, zeaxanthin is absolutely essential to your health. Zeaxanthin is a powerhouse antioxidant that protects the retinas and may help prevent macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in people over 65.
Ready to give goji berries a go? Try eating a handful of dried goji berries as an afternoon snack for an energy boost, or add them to soups or salads to infuse your meal with healthy antioxidants. You can even boil goji berries to create a delicious, antioxidant-rich tea, as they do in China.
Note: There is a possibility that goji berries, if eaten in abundance, may interfere with blood thinners, diabetes medicines, and medication for high blood pressure. If you are taking medications for any of these conditions, please consult a physician before adding goji berries to your diet.