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Friday, January 28, 2011

Superfruit: Goji Berries!

Goji berries – pronounced “go-gee” – are a recent hot commodity in the increasingly trendy high-end health food industry. They are a nutritious powerhouse, packed with antioxidants and are so very tasty! Discovered in the Himalayan Mountains, Goji berries are regarded in the Orient as an anti-aging, strength-building superfood. This sacred Goji berry is so cherished by Tibetan monks that they traditionally honor it for a two-week celebration at the end of every year. Dried Goji berries are a deep-red fruit, about the same size as a raisin. It is very sweet, slightly sour and tastes somewhat like a cross between a cranberry and a cherry. They have a similar shape and chewy texture as raisins. A good daily intake of Goji berries is 3-4 tablespoons. Read below for 10 great ways to incorporate them into your diet!

Benefits of Goji Berries

Goji berries have been used for 6,000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet and India to protect the liver, help eyesight, improve sexual function and fertility, strengthen the legs, boost immune function, improve circulation and promote longevity.

Goji berries contain the complete spectrum of food antioxidant carotenoids, including beta-carotene (a better source than even carrots) and zeaxanthin (supports the eyes). The Goji berry is among the highest source of carotenoids of all known common foods. Gojis contain 500 times the amount of vitamin C, by weight, than oranges making them second only to camu camu berries as the richest known vitamin C source on earth. Plus vitamins B1, B2, B6 and vitamin E are bountiful. About 11mg of iron per 100 grams can be found in the Gojis, as well as betasisterol, sesquiterpenoids (cyperone, solavetivone, an anti fungal compound), tetraterpenoids and betaine for digestion. Goji berries also contain polysaccharides, which support the immune system. Goji berries are high in essential fatty acids, the healthy omegas, which are required for the body's production of hormones and the smooth functioning of the brain and nervous systems. In particular, linoleic acid is abundant.

Also, goji berries are safe and healthy for kids!!! Yay!

10 Ways to Add Goji Berries to Your Diet:

1. Eat Them Up!
Delicious by the handful. Eat as little as 1-2 tablespoons of dried fruits every morning and evening. Keep some dried Goji berries at work, it is a healthy snack to eat in between meals.
To soften the dried berries, soak the berries overnight in a glass of water and drink the water as well as eating the soaked berries.

2. Goji Juice
Add a handful of dried Goji berries to a glass of water and let them sit and hydrate for a few minutes or all day as you drink your own Goji berry juice, chewing the Gojis as you drink. It is a great pick-me up between meals and the most delightful way to enjoy a glass of water.

3. Goji Shake
Blend 2 tablespoons of berries with your favorite juice to make a healthy drink. Use your imagination.
Blend together equal amounts of dried Goji berries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, apples, raspberries and blackberries. Put in a blender and add a cup of water or orange juice for easier blending.

4. Goji Tea
Boil 1 tablespoon of Goji berries, make a Goji berry tea and drink it every day. It helps to alleviate the effects of high blood pressure and high blood sugar. It also helps you to loose weight.

5. Goji Stew
Stew (organic, free-range) pork, beef, chicken or fish, add 1-2 tablespoons of Goji berries 10 minutes before the meat is done.

6. Goji Breakfasts
Mix 1 tablespoon of Goji berries with your cereal/muesli or yogurt to make a healthy breakfast.

7. Goji Salad

Add some pre soaked dried Goji berries to your salad mix. Or throw them on dried for some texture.

8. Goji Rice Dishes

Add a handful of Goji berries to rice dishes and stir-fries. The warmth helps them soften and expand, adding a sweet burst of flavor to your meals!

9. Goji Breads
Use dried Goji berries to make banana bread, muffins or fruit cakes just like raisins. Goji berries provide much more nutrients than raisins.

10. Goji Energy Bar
1 cup of dried Goji berries
½ cup nuts (almonds or cashews are good)
½ tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
mix in food processor. Then press into pan and refrigerate.

For a variation, add any of the following:

½ tablespoon coconut oil
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
3-4 dates
1-2 tablespoons cacao beans or cacao powder
1 tablespoon shredded coconut
1 teaspoon spirulina or chlorella
a dash of vanilla extract

Depending on your choice of ingredients, you may add more sweetener, dates, or coconut oil to better hold the mixture together.

Possible drug interactions - Goji berries may interact with anticoagulant drugs (commonly called "blood-thinners"), such as warfarin (Coumadin®). There was one case report published in the journal Annals of Pharmacotherapy of a 61-year old woman who had an increased risk of bleeding, indicated by an elevated international normalized ratio (INR). She had been drinking 3-4 cups daily of goji berry tea. Her blood work returned to normal after discontinuing the goji berry tea.

Keep it fresh!
- Lauren

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January Vision Board Workshop

This January 3HC will be holding aVision Board workshop! Come Join us to create your vision of a healthier, happier you in 2011!! We will supply everything you need, but feel free to bring anything additional that inspires you!

Join us on Saturday, January 29th from 12 - 2pm at Fair Haven Yoga Studio.