Friday, May 22, 2009
Secrets of Ancient Superfood - Goji Berries
Many studies have been done to find out the properties and benefits of an amazing superfruit - goji berry. It turned out to be perhaps the most nutritionally dense food on this planet. I eat them every day. They are essential in my smoothies and I add them to my water (they give it an amazing flavor).
Here’s some facts: Goji berries have more protein than whole wheat, about 500 times more vitamin C than oranges and more carotene B than carrots. And do you think this is enough? Those berries are considered to have high concentration of anti-carcinogenic and anti-aging compounds. These highly salubrious compounds provide you immunity against cancer, aging, heart disease, diabetes and problems of nervous system in addition to various other health related problems.
Gojies are perhaps the only fruit that contains vitamin E, vitamin B1 and B6. What is more they also come with about 18 amino acids (building blocks of proteins) and about twenty one trace minerals. And you were thinking these are only berries. Goji also possesses essential fatty acids. It is perhaps the richest source of carotenoids on this earth.
If you think that all this is too much and it is nothing sort of a miracle, why not try it for yourself. After all, what you would be losing? And if it is what I am trying to make you realize, just think how much you are going to benefit. If you visit Tibet or Mongolia you would find that for centuries, Goji berries have been prescribed by herbalists for a whole lot of problems. What is more every year a two week festival is held to honor these small red berries. And there are ample reasons for naming it the “happy berry” because local folklore says eating them when you start the day keeps you smiling all through the day.
The berries have the following properties: Yin tonic, improves vision, boost sperm production, benefits complexion, nourishes Liver and Kidney, replenishes vital essence (semen), powerful antioxidant, antimutagenic, and improves circulation, anti cancer properties.
One of the most well-known traditional properties of Goji berry fruit is its ability to improve vision. This has been documented for over fifteen centuries. Modern scientific studies have finally supplied some substantiation to this property. It turns out Goji fruit not only contains high amounts of b -carotene 8 mg/100g but this b -carotene is in a highly biologically active form which is readily utilized by the body.
Another well-known and long-documented traditional property of Goji fruit is its ability to “benefit complexion and maintain one’s beauty”; Goji is also considered to have anti-aging properties. To drug-oriented American scientists, this certainly sounds ridiculous. But various studies have shown Goji fruit to have numerous beneficial effects, including, antioxidant, immuno-potentiating, antimutagenic, hypoglycaemic, hypolipemic, hypotensive, etc., all of which contribute to the slowing down of the aging process or help us live longer.
The beautifying property of Goji fruit may have some scientific basis after all which may justify its use in skin-care cosmetics, as recent laboratory studies not only demonstrated its antioxidant effect but also its ability to increase dermal hydroxyproline level in mice, indicating increased collagen synthesis. All these effects are good for the skin.
Some medical researches prove that a sweet tonic decoction made from the Goji fruit has traditionally been used to lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.
Goji acts mainly on the liver and kidneys. Goji fruit has traditionally been taken internally in the treatment of high blood pressure, diabetes, poor eyesight, vertigo, lumbago, impotence and menopausal complaints.
WHAT ACTUALLY IS GOJI BERRY?
The native of Tibet and Mongolia is technically known as Lycium Barbarum (Latin). It comes from the family of Solanaceae (flowering). Some of the other plants of the same family include potatoes, tobacco and tomatoes. Scientists have so far found out eight different varieties of lycium berries. Chinese believe that Chinese Wolfberry as a Goji berry that can cure male sexual dysfunction but scientists claim that Chinese Wolfberry is not actually a true Goji berry and is just related to Lycium Berbarum.
Goji berry is a small bright red fruit that is shaped almost like a raisin and grows on vines with green leaves. You would find that owing to its delicacy the berries are shaken from the vines during harvest and not picked. They are then carefully dried in the shade. When you eat it, you would find it very chewy and taste would be a cross between cranberry and raisin. Goji berry is also known as happy berry, gou qu zi and gouqi.
IMPORTANCE OF GOJI BERRIES
Gojies are rich sources of vitamins and other nutrients. They contain vitamin B1, B2, B6, C and E and also has about eighteen amino acids. They are considered perhaps the richest source of vitamin C; only Australian billygoat plum and the South American camu camu are better sources. As for minerals, they contain zinc, phosphorus, germanium, iron and calcium in different proportions. What is more they also contain antioxidants essential to human health.
Additionally, several other beneficial compounds are reported to have been discovered in the analysis by the Beijing Nutrition Research Institute:
Selenium and Germanium: These are well-known anti-cancer agents.
Beta Sitosterol: This anti-inflammatory agent has been found to lower cholesterol, and has been used to treat impotence and prostate enlargement.
Zeaxanthin and Lutine: Have been known to protect the eyes.
Betaine: Produces Choline in the liver, which helps detoxification processes there. It is also known to protect DNA, enhance memory, encourage muscle growth and protect against fatty liver disease.
Cyperone: Used in treatment of cervical cancer. It is known to benefit blood pressure, heart and menstruation problems.
Solavetivone: An anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent.
Physalin: A compound known to boost the immune system. Also found effective in treating leukemia, cancer and hepatitis B.
The goji berries can be used in the cases of general weakness, lack of energy, aching back and joints, tinnitus, dizziness, diabetes, blurred vision, cough, wet dreams, sexual inadequacies. The internal benefits are the following - Toxic side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The external benefits are: - Burns, ulcers, bedsores, frostbite, furuncles.