Today marks our first article in our new recipe series! Once a month, we’ll be talking about one eye superfood and how you can incorporate it into your everyday life. What better way to kick off the series than with goji berries?
This little berry has been on the rise in the superfoods community for the past few years. You may have heard of the goji berry’s closely linked sister berry, the acai berry. Acai berries contain lots of antioxidants and other healing properties. The best part, they can help you improve and strengthen your eyesight.
Found in smoothie bowls and trail mixes all over the country, it’s time now to focus on the goji berry.
Goji Berries: What Are They?
Goji berries are a type of berry native to different regions in Asia. They grow mostly in China, on vines in both southern and northern China. For unknown reasons, the vines in the south grow shorter than in the north. However, there is very little difference between the berries of the two regions.
The berries themselves are tiny. They grow up to two centimeters (around 0.78 inches), roughly the width of your pinky finger. They are a bright orange and red color.
Goji berries can be eaten like any other berry 2 raw, cooked or dried like raisins.
Goji berry extract (or supplement) is another way to consume the berry. However, the extract is very concentrated. Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements of any kind.
Goji Berries and Medicine
Goji berries have long been eaten in Asia for their health benefits. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, goji berries were thought to help prolong a person’s life. Over the years, the berries began being used to treat diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and age-related eye diseases.
Although these berries taste like natural candy, a lot of people eat them with their health benefits in mind and not so much taste.
Goji berries can help to regulate blood pressure, aid in weight loss by keeping you full for longer, and boost your immune system. The amount of vitamins in a goji berry will ward off any flu symptoms come winter time. So if you haven’t stocked up on goji berries for cold season, you may want to do so now.
Goji for the Eyes
Goji berries do a lot for our bodies, but how does it help our eyes? Well, not only do goji berries contain vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, and iron (which are all essential eye nutrients), they also contain antioxidants.
As you may know, antioxidants are a necessity in the body to help our cells fight off free radicals. When free radicals are present in the body, they can cause severe cell damage. In some extreme cases, free radicals may be so aggressive that they will cause cells to die.
This is especially dangerous for the eyes. Once free radicals make their home in our eyes, cells will die and so will our vision. For that reason, antioxidants are crucial for strong eyes.
This is especially true for older people. As we age, our bodies weaken. That’s just how our bodies are. There isn’t much we can do besides strengthen what we have left and while we still can. Eating goji berries and other fruits rich in antioxidants will strengthen your eyes and keep them strong as you age.
This in turn can help protect aging eyes from age-related diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
When Goji Berries are Harmful
Like anything, too much can be harmful. Eating too many goji berries can have negative effects on the body. The issue with any fruit is that consuming too many of them can cause a spike in your sugar levels. Too much sugar can actually damage your eyesight.
Goji berries can also be harmful to eat with certain medications. If you’re taking blood thinners, you may need to speak to your doctor before incorporating goji berries into your diet.
Goji Berry Garnish
Goji berries are incredibly versatile. They can be used in savory and sweet dishes alike.
Our first recipe isn’t really a recipe, but a way to use goji berries as a garnish. You can add dried goji berries to basically any type of salad for some nice texture and sweetness. You can toss them into a garden salad, quinoa salad, even a couscous salad! Basically any place you’d add raisins can be replaced with dried goji berries!
Other meals you can add dried goji berries to include: breakfast cereals, yogurts and smoothies.
Skillet Rock Cakes with Goji Berries
Skillet rock cakes may not have the most appealing name, but they’re delicious and easy to make!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 teaspoons of cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda
- 1/3 cup of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of mixed spice
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup of margarine
- 1/2 cup goji berries
- 2 eggs
- 1-3 tablespoons of milk
Mix all of your dry ingredients together in a big bowl with your hands until they resemble breadcrumbs. Then add the eggs and mix until the batter is sticky but not runny. As you stir, add the milk.
Next, heat up your skillet, greasing the pan with the margarine. Feel free to replace the margarine with butter or simple cooking spray.
Take about two tablespoons of the batter for one cake. Place the batter in the skillet and heat until it becomes stiff and golden brown. Then flip and cook the other side!
You can eat these cakes like you’d eat a scone. Hot or cold or with jams and custards.
Who knew so much power existed in such a small berry! If you want to keep your eyes healthy, you need a healthy diet. Your eyes are really only as healthy as the rest of your body.
If the body comes under attack by an illness or disease, the eyes will suffer. Keep eating well and exercising and your eyes will do the rest!