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What is this Goji Business Anyway?

The Goji Berry – also called the ‘red diamond, ‘fruit of immortality’ and the ‘longevity fruit’. Celebrities like Madonna and Elizabeth Hurley swear by it. Chinese folklore says that it can reverse aging and let you live for centuries. Hang on tight as the Foodstree team attempts to demystify this mythical creature!

Origins

The goji berry is the small, red fruit of the goji shrub which is native to the temperate regions of China, Tibet and Mongolia. Historically, this plant has been consumed for thousands of years for medicinal and spiritual purposes, with its earliest known use being sometime in the 1st century B.C.

It has gained significant popularity in the last decade in Western markets due to its health benefits. While fresh goji may be difficult to obtain, dried goji berries are now available online readily in India. Shop them here.

Nutritional Value

There is a lot of buzz about the purported extreme health benefits of these berries. However, there is no concrete scientific proof whether these can actually reverse aging, cure cancer or fix arthritis.

What we do however know – goji berries contain all 8 essential amino acids, and are an excellent source of vitamin C, iron, vitamin A and zinc. They also have one of the highest levels of ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) so they are a great anti-oxidant as well.

A single serving (15g or 1 tbsp) of goji contains:

  • Calories: 48
  • Protein: 2.1g (quite high for a fruit!)
  • Fat: 0.27g
  • Fibre: 0.75g
  • Sugar: 10.72g

They pack quite a nutritional punch in such a small package!

Taste

Fresh goji berries are sweet, but also quite sour. The dried version however, lose most of their bitterness and are a sweet but tart flavour. If you’re a fan of cranberries or cherries, this will be right up your alley.

Use

You can incorporate goji berries into your diet almost as you would raisins. Dried goji can be incorporated into your oatmeal, trail mix, salads, drinks or desserts. You can also soak dried berries in hot water for a few minutes till they are rehydrated and soft. Rehydrated berries pair well with spiced rice, salsas or chilli. Soaked goji can be easily blended into sauces, smoothies or ice-creams too.

Due to its high levels of vitamins and minerals (yes there can be too much of a good thing!), recommended intake per day is approximately 15g or 1 tablespoon, to a maximum of 2tbsp.

However, be forewarned – goji can interact with some kinds of medication. If you have low blood sugar, are using blood thinners, lactating, pregnant or have blood pressure outside the recommended range – we would advise you to talk to your medical practitioner before adding them to your diet.

To know more on how to incorporate goji into your food stay tuned – we have a range of great recipes coming up this month!

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