[Uberfood] Goji Berries — The Unheralded, Do-It-All, Performance-Enhancing Powerberries
My newest insatiable obsession is with a berry you’ve likely never had, or for that matter, even heard of — the unheralded goji berry.
Goji berries (aka wolfberries or lycium barbarum) — oblong, atomic red-orange, nutritional bombs; native to China — are the Justin Timberlakes of the food world; do-it-all, nutrient-engorged powerhouses that are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and even vegan-friendly protein.
Taste-wise they’re piquant and substantial, with a sweet top-note that crescendos into a slightly bitter aftertaste; undercut by a dense, gummy consistency.
As a colorful, explosive flavor-booster, they’re perfect for oatmeal, Greek yogurt, trail mix, salads, granola, protein smoothies, or green tea. They’re even a fun add-on to AB&J (almond butter & jelly), as a way of replacing some of the sugar in jelly.
My almond butter-goji-strawberry sandwich.
Goji Berries — Nutritional Info.
Goji berries might appear small and shriveled in stature, but they’re absolutely stacked from a nutritional PoV.
In one randomized, double-blind study, goji-guzzling participants reported enhanced feelings of general well-being; improved energy, athletic performance, sleep quality, focus & mental acuity, calmness, and feelings of health, contentment, and happiness. Performance-wise, they significantly reduced fatigue and stress and even improved regularity of gastrointestinal function.
That’s a lot stuffed into a petite package. A 100-calorie serving provides the following:
- Protein — 4g of vegan-friendly protein, complete with 18 amino acids and all 8 essential amino acids; a rarity for plant-based protein sources.
- Fiber & Immunity-Boosting Polysaccharides — goji is loaded with immunity-boosting polysaccharides (long-chain sugar molecules) which provide 3g of fiber per serving — perfect for hunger control and gut health.
- Vitamins & Minerals — on an ounce-by-ounce basis, goji contains more beta-carotene than carrots, iron than spinach, and vitamin C than oranges, including 140% DV of vitamin A per 100 calories.
- Powerful Antioxidant — goji berries are extremely antioxidant-rich, even moreso than blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. They’re one of the top sources of carotenoids, including zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene, which are found in their red/orange pigments. All 3 are critical for healthy immunity and vision.
Goji Berries — Potential Health Benefits.
Stellar nutritional profile notwithstanding, available research suggests that Goji berries may also pack the following benefits:
Vision Support — As mentioned before, goji berries are extremely rich in zeaxanthin and lutein, carotenoids that may help improve vision, reinforce retinal cells, reduce oxidative damage, and prevent age-related macular degeneration.
Anti-Carcinogenic — Studies have shown that goji berries may inhibit the growth of various types of cancer cells and tumors — including breast and prostate — by promoting cancer cell suicide (apoptosis), and their propensity to make tumors more susceptible to chemotherapy and radiation.
Enhanced Endurance — Goji’s sugar-to-protein ratio and electrolyte profile (potassium, sodium) make it an ideal training snack before, during, or after intense workouts. Animal studies show they may be an effective way to boost cardiovasular/muscular endurance.
Sexual Tonic & Libido Booster — In traditional Asian medicine, goji was used as a sexual cure-all to boost HGH (growth hormone) and longevity. Studies suggest that goji berries enhance sexual health and may be anti-estogenic, which can promote higher testosterone levels.
Where To Buy Goji.
Amazon, Navitas Naturals Goji Berries — 16 oz., $17.59 (that’s $1.10/oz.)
Goji berries are available at Whole Foods or any other health-centric grocery stores, sold dried in pouches. Conveniently, they’re also available in bulk on Amazon, which tends to be significantly cheaper ($1.10/oz. as compared with $1.80+/oz.). I personally use and recommend Navitas Naturals.
Please keep in mind that goji berries are NOT magical beans that’ll mystically transform your body into a majestic specimen, and that the majority of studies are inconclusive (they’re conducted on animals and/or small sample sizes).
They’re a delicious, nutrient-dense snack and/or garnish, that — in my opinion – noticeably enhance mental acuity, energy levels, and sexual health (I’ll let your mind wander).
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ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto.
I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP
, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid
, and all-around fitness junkie.
I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine
When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses
and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.
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