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What are they?

Goji berries, also known as “wolfberries” are classically grown from an evergreen shrub in China, Mongolia, the Himalayas of Tibet, and in India. They are a member of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family of plants whose relatives include the eggplant, tomato, and peppers. They are most often see in their dried form, and look like red long raisins. These little guys are one of the most nutritionally rich fruits on earth!

Why are they super?

Goji berries hold many health benefits!

  • With all 18 amino acids, they are considered a “complete protein.”
  • They are extremely high in Vitamin A  (beta carotene). In fact, just 1 tablespoon of these berries contains 36% of the daily recommended Vitamin A!
  • They contain more Vitamin C by weight than any other food on Earth!
  • They contain more iron that spinach (sorry Popeye!)
  • They contain many trace minerals our bodies need to function such as magnesium, selenium, zinc, and copper.
  • They are rich in phytonutrients and anti-oxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for healthy eyes and a functioning nervous system.
  • One of the greatest benefits of goji berries is that are high in a compound known as Lycium barbarum, a polysaccharide which as been shown to enhance immunity and reduce inflammation.

How to eat them?

Goji berries are safe for children over the age of 1 in moderation. There are some medications that may adversely interact with goji berries and goji berry juice, so if you have any concerns about feeding your children goji berries, please check with you family doctor in order to avoid the risks. You can soak them and blend them up or eat them dry.

Try these delicious goji berry recipes today!

Cranberry Goji Berry Muffins

Ingredients  (Makes 12)

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups flour (whole wheat or a mixture)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 cup + a handful of cranberries (frozen ones are ok too)
  • 2 cups of orange juice
  • 3/4 cups of goji berries
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 flax eggs

Directions:

*Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

  1. Take 1/2 c of the orange juice and soak the goji berries in it for 20 minutes.  This will "plump" up the berries a bit.
  2. In a medium to large bowl combine the oats, flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Mix well.
  3. Mix the coconut oil, flax eggs, remaining orange juice (1 1/2 cups), and mashed banana together in a medium bowl.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, combining well.
  5. Add 1 cup of cranberries to the batter, as well as the orange juice/goji mixture.  Mix.
  6. Microwave the remaining cranberries (1 handful) for 1 minute.  Mash them, adding the chia seeds.  Let this sit for 1-2 minutes, and then microwave for 20 seconds.  Add this to the batter.
  7. Grease a muffin tin and place in liners.  Scoop the batter into the liners, filling them up to the top and even higher if possible.  These don't really rise, so it's okay to make them big. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool.

Goji Berry Breakfast Bars:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/8 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dates
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon Goji berries
  • 1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mash banana in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  3. Lightly wipe an 8 X 8 baking pan with a small amount of olive oil. Spread mixture into pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack and cut into bars.
  4. Refrigerate any leftover bars.

Fun fact:

Legend says a man named Li Qing Yuen consumed goji berries daily and lived to be 252 years old!

 

Written by: Dana Stretchberry

Sources:

http://www.naturalnews.com/036003_goji_berries_superfood_nutrients.html

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/goji-berries-worthy-of-the-name-superfood.html

http://greatist.com/health/superfood-goji-berries

http://yogadigest.com/7-fun-facts-about-goji-berries/

Images:

www.topcultured.com

www.bestherbalhealth.com

www.goodlifemississauga.com

www.Huffingtonpost.com

Recipe Adaptation:

http://positiveponderings.blogspot.com/2011/02/healthy-vegan-cranberry-gogi-muffins.html

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/ANTIOXIDANT-RICH-BREAKFAST-BARS-50167938