Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+ Join today!.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Hayley White
For a tiny berry, gojis are loaded with impressive disease-fighting compounds. Deemed a healing food in traditional Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years, ancient medical texts lauded goji berries as a tonic for the eyes, liver, and kidneys. Today, they are known to be one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Here are 5 great reasons to get more gojis into your diet:
They’re anti-inflammatory. Beta-sitosterol, an anti-inflammatory agent in goji berries, can help lower cholesterol, protect against heart disease, and promote sexual health. Beta-sitosterol has been used to treat everything from fibromyalgia, asthma, allergies, hair loss, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. It is a plant substance similar to cholesterol that appears to lower cholesterol levels by limiting the amount of cholesterol that can enter the body.
They’re naturally vitamin rich. Think more vitamin C than oranges, more beta-carotene than carrots, and more iron than steak. Plus, goji berries are an excellent sources of B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. They contain plentiful amounts of vitamin E too.
They protect your eyes. Goji berries are one of the richest edible plant sources known for Zeaxanthin, a compound related to vitamin A that has been shown to protect the retina of the eye. In addition to preventing age-related macular degeneration, or the deterioration of the retina, zeaxanthin guards the body from the damaging effects of free radicals, molecules that destroy cells and play a role in many diseases.
They promote muscle growth. Goji berries contain 18 amino acids, including all eight essential amino acids. This makes them an ideal choice for meeting your daily protein requirements.
They enhance immunity. Lycium barbarum polysaccharides are nutrients found in goji berries that have been shown to strengthen the immune system. They have a similar chemical structure to immune-stimulating compounds within maitake mushrooms and Echinacea.
Want to get more gojis into your diet? Make an easy raw food breakfast by mixing goji berries, raw oats, slivered almonds, fresh berries, and coconut flakes. Moisten with pomegranate juice, and enjoy.Or, try one of these fabulous recipes that make great use of gojis:
About Talia Fuhrman
Talia Fuhrman has a B.A. in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University and is a freelance body image and nutrition writer and chef. She’s on a mission to help people understand that eating healthfully and feeling fantastic can be fun, delicious, and easy. She has written for numerous websites and magazines including
Positive Impact Magazine
. You can find her at