Goji berries are tasty and nutrient-rich, and they’re getting more and more attention for their health benefits. In fact, they’re considered to be a superfood, which means that they’re packed with healthful goodies that can fight disease and benefit the body. This is great news because they’re also becoming more widely available as a result. They tend to be slightly on the more expensive side as far as dried berries and fruits go. For this reason, growing your own goji berries may be a very rewarding solution.
A Little Background
Goji berries originally come from China. In various places in Asia, they are believed to increase longevity. They have been used as a natural treatment for fever, eye maladies, diabetes and high blood pressure.
These berries can be eaten fresh or dried. They’re enjoyed as a snack on their own, or in teas and juices. Some natural remedies include goji berries in their medicine make-up.
Health Benefits of Goji Berries
These berries are particularly high in vitamins A and C, iron, fibre, and zinc. They also have antioxidants, which mean that they can help to fight off diseases like cancer. They have all eight of the essential amino acids and are uncharacteristically high in protein. The benefits of goji berries include:
They can assist in weight loss
They are sweet enough to feed your craving, but low in sugar. They also have fibre, making them a complex carb that raises your blood sugar slowly, instead of causing it to spike (which causes a sugar crash and more cravings).
They assist in the control of your blood sugar
Avoiding sugar is about more than just losing weight. When your body is unable to process and metabolise sugar properly, major illnesses (like diabetes) are on the cards. Goji berries can improve your tolerance of sugar, ease insulin-resistance, curb sugar cravings, and may even lower your blood sugar levels.
They boost your immune system
Thanks to the vitamin C and other nutrients, goji berries can build your body’s defence against colds, flu and other illnesses.
They are rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants keep your body healthy at a cellular level and help the cells to maintain strong walls, even when exposed to radiation and smoke. These little berries are packed with an antioxidant punch.
They boost men’s fertility and sex drive
Studies have shown that goji’s can up your sperm count and activity, and can generally improve sexual performance and enjoyment. Some experts have even suggested that patients may be able to replace their erectile dysfunction medicine with these berries.
Goji berries are also believed to:
- Prevent liver damage
- Increase energy levels
- Aid in better sleep
- Improve your focus
- Help to maintain a calm disposition
- Reduce arthritic pain
- Promote healthy skin
- Improve symptoms of depression
A Word of Caution
Chat to your doctor about eating goji berries if you are on medication. They may interact with certain blood thinners, and medications for blood pressure and diabetes.
How to Grow Your Own Goji Berries
The great news is that a goji berry tree is relatively easy to plant and grow. They thrive in different kinds of soil and are fairly resistant to droughts, cold, and dry spells.
It is best to buy a tree that is two or three years old so that you start off with a healthy, established plant. They do well in full sun, and well-draining soil that you protect with mulch. Still, even without this soil or mulch, they can survive (if not thrive).
To plant your goji berry tree, remove it from the pot or bag and put it into a big bucket with water in it. Soak the roots for up to an hour while you dig a hole that is big enough for the tree and soil.
Put your goji berry tree into the hole and fill the hole with soil (preferably with healthful compost added to it too). Press the ground down firmly around the plant’s base and roots to secure it there.
Give your goji berry plenty of water once it has been planted.
Thereafter, caring for your tree is fairly easy. They don’t demand much water, but definitely give more fruit when they receive regular watering.
Prune it every so often to keep it from looking bushy and out of control. The tree should start producing delicious berries once it is about three years old. After that, it will produce more and more of them every year.
Just Berry Plants is a stockist of goji berry trees. Contact us for more advice or to buy your own tree.