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Native to China, the goji berry (also known as wolfberry) has been hailed as the latest super food. Yet, this bright orange-red berry has been eaten in Asia for generations because it is believed to have properties that aid longevity.
Although it may not be the fountain – or berry – of eternal youth, research has proven that goji berries have excellent healing properties that can help treat many common health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, fever and age-related vision problems.
Goji berries are now available in several organic stores in Pakistan. This piquant little fruit can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried (like raisins) and used in herbal teas, juices and medicines.
Health benefits of goji berries include:
1. They are believed to help prevent cancer and a host of illnesses including heart disease, because they contain antioxidants, which boost the immune system and lower cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. The antioxidants are believed to help the body slow the aging process and minimise cell damage caused by free radicals.
2. Due to the presence of Vitamin A, goji berries help boost the immune function, maintain good eyesight, prevent heart disease and slow down age-related diseases.
3. Goji berries are a good source of Vitamin C, a vital antioxidant vitamin that ensures healthy teeth, gums and blood vessels, optimal iron absorption as well as immunity against several diseases.
4. Thanks to their dietary fibre, goji berries promote heart, intestinal and bone health.
5. The protein in goji berries is essential for maintaining the immune system and the maintenance of muscles and tissues.
6. Goji berry juice is believed to be beneficial for brain health, mental well-being, physical performance and a good night’s sleep. Research also indicates that the juice may be able to combat – and prevent – Alzheimer’s.
– Dr Rashida Ali
The writer is adjunct professor and consultant, Department of Food Science and Technology and ICCBS, University of Karachi and English Biscuit Manufacturers.