Sunday, October 16, 2011

Superfood Sunday: An Ancient Chinese Superfood

Two weeks ago, I introduced you to my favorite superfood, the Camu Camu berry.  Today, I'd like to introduce you to another super berry that has a long history in Chinese herbal medicine: the Goji Berry.  Also known as Wolfberries, the Goji berry is part of the huge Solanaceae family that includes tomatoes, potatoes, and many peppers.  What's remarkable about these little berries, though, is the nutritional content they pack.

Goji berries contain 18 amino acids, making them a good source of protein.  Depending on the source, they're also loaded with around 10 essential and 20 to 22 trace minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and up to 5 carotenoids, including beta-carotene.  This may be one of the reasons the Chinese revere this berry and place it at the top of their list of medicinal herbs.  It has long been considered a top longevity herb and protector of the immune system and eye health.

One of the most important constituents in Goji berries are the polysaccharides, which can comprise up to 30% of their weight.  These polysaccharides are believed to be one of the reasons Goji berries are powerful immune builders and anti-aging berries.  In fact, the Goji berry has gotten enough attention over the last ten years to inspire several short- and long-term studies on the effects of aging and other benefits.

Like all food, you need to make sure you know where your Goji berries are coming from.  Most of the berries on the market are low quality and come from areas of China that are highly sprayed.  Goji berries should be organically grown, preferably at high elevations away from toxic farming practices.  Of course, I recommend as they have the best I've ever had.  Try Goji berries alone, in a trail mix, on your cereal or (like the Chinese) as an herbal tea.  Be kind to your immune system.  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

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