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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

The Goji Berry

Nov 04, 2013 01:50PM

The goji berry, known also as lycium barbarum, is nearing celebrity status among fruit consumed in the U.S. In its processed forms of juice, powders and dried berries, it is enjoyed in everything from martinis and smoothies to granolas and nutritional supplements. According to the Wall Street Journal, since 2008, U.S. marketers have introduced 358 products containing the low-glycemic berry, which is a rich source of antioxidants that minimize the damage to cells from free radicals.

The reddish-orange berry, also called a wolfberry, contains 11 essential and 22 trace dietary minerals, 18 amino acids and six essential vitamins, as well as numerous phytochemicals, such as beta-carotene. Polysaccarides, which make up 31 percent of the berry’s soluble dietary fiber, enhance digestion, positively affecting the contents of the gastrointestinal tract and the way that other nutrients are absorbed.

Drier and more tart than raisins, the majority of commercially produced goji berries have been grown for 2,000 years on large plantations in China for use in traditional herbal medicine. To satisfy the growing demand, farmers in Wyoming and Montana are also cultivating the berries, which prefer a hot, dry summer with high daytime temperatures and cool nights.

Resource: Tropical Smoothie Café, TropicalSmoothie.com.

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