We all inwardly yearn to live forever and benefit from youthful, good looks that defy the ravages of time. Whilst we are yet to discover the secret of eternal youth, there are a number of practical ways to increase our longevity and postpone some of the unwelcome signs of aging. Avoiding stress, taking regular exercise and enjoying a healthy, balanced diet are just some of the simple steps you can take to a long, healthy and ultimately fulfilling life. And you’re about to learn about an extremely potent superfood, famous for its life prolonging and age defying qualities that, once incorporated into your daily eating regime, will help you stay young, fit and vital for longer.
Introducing Goji Berries – The Super Berry From The East
Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, originally grew in the Himalayas, where their amazing potential was discovered by Tibetan monks around 800 AD. They have been harnessed as a valuable source of food and useful medicine ever since. Legend even has it that a man from China, Li Qing Yuen, lived from 1678 to 1930 reached the remarkably ripe old age of 252 thanks to his daily portion of goji berries!
Although they now grow wild in Europe, most goji berries still come from China and neighbouring countries. They are deep red in colour, similar in size to raisins and boast a deliciously intense flavour and one that is often likened to a mix between cranberry and cherry.
Goji Berries – Packed With Powerful Anti-Aging Ingredients
Goji berries are rich in vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants and possess strong anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal qualities. Considered one of the most nutritious fruits on the planet, goji berries are also revered for their strength building and libido enhancing properties. Not only that, these impressive little berries are literally crammed with anti-aging and life prolonging nutrients, each of which are examined more thoroughly below.
Goji berries are positively brimming with antioxidants, which lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, strengthen our immune system (enabling us to remain healthy for longer) and actively prevent premature aging.
Antioxidants work by minimising and preventing the damage to our cells routinely caused by free radicals. Sunlight and air pollution for example, create harmful free radicals in our skin cells, which increase the risk of skin cancer and accelerate the formation of wrinkles. According to Jeffrey Blumberg, professor of nutrition and director of the antioxidant lab at Tufts University in Boston, “free radicals can damage any cells that get in their way”. The British Dietetic Association recommends a diet rich in antioxidants that “may reduce damage to cell DNA and cell membranes”. A Japanese study of 1000 people over the age of 70 revealed that those who consumed high volumes of antioxidants showed the least signs of the kind of cognitive decline associated with aging. A number of published studies also suggest that antioxidants can help prevent cardiovascular, inflammatory and vision-related diseases and in particular, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.
Goji berries boast an extraordinarily high carotenoid content, including beta-carotene, (goji berries actually contain more beta carotene than carrots), zeaxanthin and lutein. Beta-carotene not only strengthens our immune system, it protects us from sun damage and reduces the risk of a number of illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and coronary heart disease. Carotenoids also protect the retina of the eye and can demonstrably improve vision. Indeed, a study of some 5,836 patients in the Netherlands indicated that beta-carotene consumption actively reduced their risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness. Foods rich in zeaxanthin, meanwhile, have been proven to prevent the loss of eyesight in people over the age of 65, whilst lutein, a fat-soluble antioxidant, is known to protect our eyes from age-related, macular degeneration and cataracts.
Goji berries are the richest source of vitamin C on the planet – just one gram of goji berries contains around 500 times more vitamin C than the same weight of oranges. In addition to boosting our immune system and lowering our risk from heart disease and stroke, vitamin C also boasts an impressive ability to turn back the hands of time. A 2007 study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that those who ate foods rich in vitamin C had noticeably fewer wrinkles and less age related, dry skin than those who didn’t. And according to Patricia Farris, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Tulane University in New Orleans, vitamin C helps form collagen, which is responsible for smoothing out unwanted fine lines and wrinkles.
Goji berries are packed with compounds that are rich in vitamin A (retinoids), a vitamin known for its anti-aging benefits. The Cochrane Review published in the Dermatologic Therapy journal reveals that retinoids are not only capable of repairing photo aged skin at both a clinical and biochemical level, but that regular intake may actively prevent photo aging too.
Vitamin E is yet another highly efficient anti-aging vitamin, which also combats heart disease, strengthens our resistance and helps prevent the type of skin cell damage that can lead to skin cancer. Interestingly, a Korean study demonstrated that mice exposed to ultraviolet sunlight were less prone to wrinkles when they consumed vitamin E and a range of other antioxidants.
Selenium is an essential mineral, which is as valuable for our overall health and wellbeing as it is for combatting the signs of aging. Our bodies cannot produce selenium, so we must obtain it from our regular diet. Goji berries are an excellent source of selenium, which acts as an antioxidant, as well as accelerating our body’s own antioxidant-making process. Moderate increases in selenium levels have been directly linked to increased longevity via a decrease in deadly cancers. A study at Cornell University and the University of Arizona showed that of 1,312 patients with skin cancer, those who received just 200 micrograms of selenium daily for 10 years, reduced their risk of dying from any cancer (and not just skin cancer), by a considerable 18 per cent. Recent research also revealed that selenium lowers the risk of developing age related osteoarthritis, by providing protection for bones, joints and cartilage tissue.
Polysaccharides are responsible for the skin’s natural ability to hydrate and retain water and are critical for skin repair and renewal. Dry skin, fine lines, wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity are all aggravated by a lack of polysaccharides. The polysaccharides in goji berries also stimulate the release of the rejuvenating Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which can reverse the unwelcome effects of aging, making us look and feel significantly younger.
Incorporating Goji Berries Into Your Regular Diet
Goji berries are a delicious and extremely versatile fruit that are readily incorporated into your daily diet. Goji berries can be enjoyed as a snack, in a variety of nutritious recipes such as smoothies, juices and trail mix or used to prepare a particularly rejuvenating tea.