Why I Eat Goji Berries

And Why You Should, Too!

Ever wonder how I came up with my recipe for Dark Chocolate Goji Bark? As you may know, I don’t like to eat anything unless it is jammed with healing nutrients and delicious. Why waste the time and calories if it’s not going to benefit my body?

At the time, I was trying to create a healthy sweet, just a little something for the end of a meal. Dark chocolate is a sweet you want to eat because it contains potent antioxidants called flavanols. These flavanols help to lower blood pressure and aid in better blood flow.

I was approaching 50 and I wanted my sweet treat to have a bigger nutritional punch. When I learned about the amazing health and antiaging properties of goji berries, it was a match made in heaven!

Goji berries come from the Tibetan and Mongolian Himalayas in northern Asia. This nutritionally dense berry is high in antioxidants and has unique polysaccharides that reduce inflammation. We want to reduce inflammation because it is a primary contributor to cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and arthritis. And guess what? Processed foods, sugar, and obesity increase inflammation in the body.

Besides trying to eat and live in a way that reduces inflammation, we should also try to bump up the anti-oxidants to protect the body from free radicals that are the destructive little buggers to our DNA and healthy cells.

On the ORAC Scale – a standardized test adopted by the US Department of Agriculture to measure the antioxidant potency of foods and nutritional supplements – the Goji berry is a super star. Goji berries earn a score of 30,500, in contrast to pomegranates at 10,450 and blueberries at 2,750.

Now you know why I added those little red berries into my dark chocolate bark. I didn’t stop there — I  also added dried blueberries and heart-healthy raw almonds, too!

I made my Dark Chocolate Goji Bark so healthy that you would benefit from having a piece everyday! And why not? It tastes delicious!

As for the goji berry alone: it tastes like a cross between a cranberry and a raisin. They are a little pricey, so buy them in bulk. They come dried, so I like to add them to a cup of hot water to plump them before tossing on a salad. Don’t waste the soaking water – drink it or add it to a smoothie to enjoy all antioxidants available.

Here is another way to enjoy them.

Goji Berry Salad
Makes 6 servings (about 1 cup each)

Preparation Time: 10 to 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • Goji Berry Salad

    2 cups cooked brown rice blend

  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup goji berries, soaked in hot water until plump
  • 1 cup Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup pecan or walnut halves, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine rice, beans, and goji berries. Add 1/3- 2/3 cup vinaigrette and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper; add more vinaigrette if needed.
  2. Spoon salad onto spinach-lined plates
  3. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired.

Vinaigrette
Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs shallots or red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 2 Tbs orange or pineapple juice
  • 1 Tbs parsley, chopped

Directions

  1. Whisk together all ingredients.
  2. Refrigerate until serving time.
  3. Mix again before using.
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