Gaga for goji? The latest berry to reach super power status (at least as far as marketers are concerned) has been used for centuries in Asian cultures for their purported health benefits. They have been used to improve immunity, fertility and longevity. But are these berries really worth going crazy over? A recent study suggests so, but don”t rush to the store just yet. The study gave participants either goji juice or a placebo for two weeks, and had them fill out questionnaires at the beginning and end of the two-week period. According to the study, people who drank the goji juice reported less stress and fatigue, improved athletic performance and energy, and better focus, sleep, sense of well-being and happiness. However, not only did this study rely on self-reporting of very subjective measures, but the study was sponsored by a nutritional supplement company that sells goji juice. Both of these factors mean there is a very real chance that the results are biased.
But, there are lots of benefits of berries, including the goji variety:
- They are chock full of antioxidants that protect your cells from damage and may reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases
- They are high in fiber, which benefits gastrointestinal health as well as helps lower cholesterol
- They boast lots of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese
- A cup of berries has less than 100 calories
Berries have delicate skins and their nutrients can be easily washed away. Therefore, only rinse berries right before eating to keep them fresh and to preserve the most nutrients. Berries are best enjoyed in season, when they are the freshest. When berries aren”t in season, frozen varieties are a great option. Add a handful to your breakfast cereal, a bowl of yogurt, smoothies, even ice cream or frozen yogurt. Berries are even a great addition to a salad of mixed greens, toasted nuts and a little goat cheese.
And opt for berries in the whole form rather than fancy juices — you”ll get more bang for your nutrient buck.