The organic goji berry is also known under the name wolfberry and belongs to the Lycium genus and Solanaceae family, just like tomato, pepper, eggplant and patato. Goji berry comes from south-east Europe and Asia and the plant grows goji berry flowers of lavender or light purple color that bloom from June to September while the seeds produce bright orange/red fruits that ripen from July to October. The fruits are sometimes referred to as red diamonds.
Goji berries have drawn attention the past few years and are now marketed as superfruits for their nutritional values and are often referred as Novel Foods. However, goji berries are not new and have been eaten for more than 600 years especially in China and the plant was introduced in the UK in 1730. Being forgotten by the general public, it was put back on the market in the years 2000 and onwards.
Goji berry health benefits
Goji berries are known for their high content of antioxidants and this is why they have been marketed as superfruits. As such, they can help boost the immune system. They are also used in Traditional Chinese medicine to protect the liver, to improve blood circulation, to enhance sexual functions, to protect the eye sight and to reduce cardio-vascular risks. They can help reduce high blood pressure, eliminate bad cholesterol, increase energy levels, improve skin complexion and even as anti-aging. They are a great fruit to include in the diet as they are rich in Vitamin C (more than oranges), Vitamin B2 (for the metabolism), antioxidants (phenols), zinc, selenium, iron, potassium, calcium, beta-carotene, amino acids (to build blocks of proteins), monosaccharides and polysaccharides (carbohydrates), unsaturated fats (linoleic acid or omega 6 and alpha-linolenic acid or omega 3) and fibers.
Organic goji berries
Goji berries are known to be spread with a lot of pesticides, fungicides and insecticides especially when coming from Asia. Some goji berries batches were even refused from entering the USA because of the level of chemicals that they contained. Therefore, you should favor organic goji berries as most organic products are grown naturally but again, always check the origin and the packaging to ensure they are truly organic goji berries. Goji berries are often sold in the form of dried goji berries that are chewy in texture and sweet and sour in taste because fresh goji berries are not easy to find. They are also sometimes found in tisanes in the organic teas section but the most common form is goji berry juice. However, pure goji berry juice is also hard to find and you will notice that the goji juice is in most cases mixed with other berries juice and sugar. Again, an organic goji berry juice will contain higher percentages of organic goji berries and no added sugar. You can at last find delicatessen food such as dark chocolate truffles with goji berry. If the chocolate is dark and the product does not contain added sugar, it can make up for a pleasant and healthy snack.