Goji Berries: A Nutrition Powerhouse
Always on the lookout for unique and nutritionally potent foods, we have come across an amazing and tasty little berry from Mongolia and Tibet called “goji.” Goji berries have been used and valued for centuries in China, Tibet and Mongolia as both food and medicine. The goji berry is a dried fruit, brick-red in colour and about the same size as a raisin. Drier than a raisin, the goji berry tastes somewhat like a cross between a cranberry and a cherry with a sort of “tea leaf” finish. The goji plants grow like bushes with vines that reach 15 to 20 feet. The berries are never touched by hand as they will oxidize and turn black if touched while fresh. They are shaken onto mats, then dried in the shade.
An amazing “power food.” Goji berries, sometimes mistakenly called “wolfberries” (see Buyer Beware! below), are perhaps the most nutritionally-rich fruit on the planet. Goji berries contain 18 kinds of amino acids, 21 trace minerals and are the richest source of carotenoids, including beta-carotene (more beta carotene than carrots), of all known foods or plants on earth! They also contain 500 times the amount of vitamin C by weight than oranges, making them second only to camu camu berries as the richest vitamin C source on earth, as well as significant amounts of B and E vitamins and iron. Another important nutrient is beta-sisterol, an anti-inflammatory agent, and numerous other agents which fortify the immune system and stimulate the rejuvenative human growth hormone through the pituitary gland.
Anti-aging and longevity. Goji berries have been traditionally regarded by the Chinese as a longevity, strength-building, and sexual potency food of the highest order. Several studies with elderly people have shown amazing results in appetite improvement and control, better sleep patterns and significantly enhanced libido! A well-documented case of longevity tells the story of Li Qing Yuen who consumed goji berries daily as his primary food and lived to the age of 252! Many people of Ningxia Province in China, where these berries also grow, commonly live up to 120 to 150 years of age. Information on Mongolian goji berries is supported by over 40 university studies.
Buyer beware! Not all goji berries are the same. “Goji” is the colloquial name given only to this Tibetan berry by the indigenous Tibetan and Mongolian peoples of the region. Local wildcrafters are careful to distinguish the Tibetan goji berry (lycium eleganus barbarum from its distantly-related offspring, the Chinese wolfberry (lycium barbarum), pointing out that while the latter evolved (over centuries) from the Tibetan goji berry, its genetic makeup differs considerably, as do the regions within which these two different berries are grown. Even the Chinese want Tibetan goji berries and marketers often fraudulently call their Chinese wolfberries “goji” to generate more profit. Tibetan goji berries grow in profusion in the very remote unpolluted hills and valleys of Tibet and Mongolia, in soil so rich in nutrients that the berries are literally exploding with their special nurturing vitality. Every harvest is tested for purity – proving that they are free of chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, etc. Of course they are very pure because no chemicals are ever used in their production; in fact these wildcrafted berries exceed all organic worldwide standards!
A good daily intake of goji berries is 10 to 30 grams (about 50 to 70 berries). Goji berries may be eaten on their own as snacks or as cereal topping. Richard has been working on a “super-anti-oxidant” mix featuring goji that will also contain other anti-oxidant dried fruit such as dried blueberries and cranberries combined with omega-3 and omega-6 rich nuts like our “Baby Native” pecans, pumpkin seeds and pine nuts, so look for it on this year’s price list.
It is said in Tibet that eating goji berries in the morning will make you happy the entire day. We’re committed to putting a smile on your face!