May 14, 2014

Goji Berry Juice

Okay, I admit it. I’m on a total goji berry kick right now. I love those little, wrinkly reddish orange guys! These superfood berries are the bomb—nutritional bomb that is. They’re absolutely LOADED with the most potent antioxidants that you can find. Some say they are the most nutritionally dense food on the planet. I’m not sure about that claim, but here are a few facts:

Antioxidants:
Goji berries are an excellent source of antioxidants such as polyphenols, flavonoids, carotenoids and contain high levels vitamins A, C and E. The goji berry contains approximately 500 times more vitamin C per weight than an orange and considerably more beta-carotene than carrots. They contain much larger concentrations of antioxidants than most other fruits. Since antioxidants help neutralize the cell-damaging effects of free radicals, eating more antioxidant-rich foods like goji berries can help guard us from degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and most types of cancer.

Dried gojis… this is how they are normally sold.
Prevent Vision Loss:
According to a study published in the 2005 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, goji berries contain properties that prevent the risk of vision loss. Researchers at Hong Kong Polytechnic University fed 14 healthy volunteers a serving of 15 grams of goji berries daily for 28 days while comparing their blood levels to 13 control volunteers. After 28 days, the volunteers who consumed the fruits experienced significantly raised zeaxanthin levels in the blood (zeaxanthin is an antioxidant present in goji berries that helps preserve eyesight). Therefore, if you’re suffering from poor or deteriorating eyesight, consider adding more goji berries to your diet.
NOTE: Here’s a personal win… I have been eating nutrient-dense foods for about two years now. I recently went to the eye doctor because I needed a new prescription for my contact lenses. I also felt like my glasses prescription was too strong. Turns out my vision has improved MARKEDLY! My new prescription is more than one diopter lower than my last one! If you wear glasses or contacts, you will understand that one diopter is nothing to sneeze at… maybe it was all those goji berries! 🙂

Nutrient Density:
Though goji berries are best-known for their antioxidant activity, they also contain an impressive number of vitamins and minerals. According to Paul Gross in his report, The Top 20 Superfruits, a quarter cup of goji berries contains 11 essential vitamins and 22 trace minerals, including 24 percent RDI of potassium, 18 percent RDI of zinc and a whopping 100 percent of our RDI of iron, copper and riboflavin. They also contain 8 polysaccharides, a primary source of dietary fiber.

    Fresh goji berries… never had them but would love to try!
Better Sleep:
Consumption of goji berries daily can improve sleep patterns. In a study published by the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, participants consuming goji reported better sleep, woke refreshed and had higher energy levels than people who were taking a placebo. Goji berries are a rich source of magnesium and thiamin (B1), both of which are necessary for healthful sleep. And here’s a very interesting fact about goji berries: they contain naturally occurring melatonin! So have some before bed for a restful night’s sleep.

I had never tried, nor even heard of, goji juice before. I figured I’d give it a try. And it’s delicious! To me, it tastes a lot like rooibos tea. Enjoy it hot or cold. Here is the super easy recipe:
Ingredients:

  • ½ cup dried goji berries
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  • 2-4 dates, depending on how sweet you like it. I have also used ¼ cup organic golden raisins and they worked great.

Directions:

  1. Add the gojis, lemon juice and dates to 1 cup of water. Let soak until the berries are soft (you can bypass the soaking if you have a high powered blender). Blend for about 30 seconds. Add the remaining water and blend again until combined.  Strain if you want. I don’t, but it will have some of the little seed particles if you don’t.
  2. That’s it!
  3. Store in the fridge.
  4. Serve cold or warmed for a yummy bedtime tea.

Makes one quart. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,


References:

  1. David B. Haytowitz and Seema Bhagwat, USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2., May 2010.
  2. Life Sci. 2006 Jul 10;79(7):613-21. Epub 2006 Mar 6. PMID: 16563441, Luo Q1, Li Z, Huang X, Yan J, Zhang S, Cai YZ.
  3. Br J Nutr. 2005 Jan;93(1):123-30. Fasting plasma zeaxanthin response to Fructus barbarum L. (wolfberry; Kei Tze) in a food-based human supplementation trial. Cheng CY1, Chung WY, Szeto YT, Benzie IF.

8 responses to “Goji Berry Juice”

  1. Allison says:

    We eat goji berries ocassionally, but you've inspired me to include more in my diet. I'd love to have my vision improve.

  2. Helyn says:

    Great Allison! Thanks for the feedback.

  3. Julann says:

    First I want to say I love your recipes, your sweet mustard dressing is my favorite. I do not eat goji berries but want to start including them in my diet I am premenopausal and would love to get better sleep. Where do you buy your goji berries?

  4. Helyn says:

    Thanks, Julann! I get my goji berries online at VitaCost here: http://www.vitacost.com/navitas-naturals-sun-dried-goji-berries

    They have good prices and I like Nativas brand the best. Sometimes I also get them at my health food store for convenience.

  5. My vision also improved a lot last script (not sure if it was the diet or just a function of getting more long sighted as I get older – I am myopic still but less so than I was). We grow goji's in the garden. They are great fresh but haven't had that many yet. Usually just have the dried ones.

  6. Helyn says:

    That's great, Rach! You grow them??? I'm jealous 🙂

  7. Lucas Moore says:

    Looks so refreshing drink and also very yummy and healthy. All the pics are so nice. The goji berry has become popular because of the many health benefits it can provide. Goji berry juice comes from these marvelous little berries, and the juice which is easier to transport and store than fresh fruit is well regarded for general health and anti-aging benefits.
    Goji berry juice

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