The Surprising Things Goji Berries Do For Your Body

Goji berries may have had a starring role in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, but the West has only woken up to the health benefits of the goji berry — or the wolfberry. The fruit of the Lycium barbarum can be found across Asia, but the BBC said that the best goji berries can be found in North-West China, where it is traditionally grown and harvested before it is dried and then sent off to different parts of China and the world.

Bon Appetit noted that goji berries are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as iron and the eight amino acids our body does not produce naturally and which we need to obtain from our food. The website also explained that the berry is rich in phytochemicals, or organic compounds which can be found in plant-based foods and which arm our bodies against cancer. Ecowatch stated that a fourth of a cup of goji berries contains 70 calories, 12 grams of sugar, 9 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and 150 percent of RDI for Vitamin A, as well as 75 percent of RDI for selenium, 63 percent of RDI for vitamin B2, and 42 percent of RDI for iron.

Goji berries can be used in many ways

Down to Earth stated that goji berries can be eaten raw (a fourth of a cup is plenty!); these berries can also be juiced or made into a fruit tea. Just add the berries into a glass of hot water for five to ten minutes, drink the tea, and eat the rehydrated fruit. You can also add the rehydrated fruit into a smoothie. Goji berries can be added to your morning cereal, as well as into muffins and scones.

In Asia, goji berries can turn up in the most unexpected places. As a medicinal fruit, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) doctors add goji berries to their herbal mixes. TCM doctor Zhang Ruifen told the BBC, "Chinese mothers may say that you need to eat [goji berries] as it is good for the eyes, as it contains carotene." She added, "I would prescribe it to help boost the kidney and liver system, of which TCM believes that the eyes are a part." Goji berries can also be added to chicken soup, where it often mixes with red date and ginger.

But even this superfood isn't a cure-all. Zhang explained that people who have fevers, sore throats, or diarrhea should stop ingesting goji berries until they recover. However, Zhang noted, "But when you are fine, generally goji berry is suitable for everybody."