For a berry with such an intimidating title, the wolfberry actually has lots going for it. Wolfberry comes from the Mandarin title Gou qi zi (“goo-chee-zee”), a crimson berry from the Solanaceae nightshade household that features tomato, eggplant, chili pepper, and potato.
In widespread English, gou qi zi (actually ‘wolf’+ ‘vitality’+ ‘berry’) has change into “goji.” For at the least 2000 years, the wolfberry has grown wild in China and been utilized in frequent recipes and conventional Chinese language medication. Eighteenth century Chinese language farmers nicknamed gou qi zi “wolfberry” after they noticed wolves feasting among the many berry-laden vines throughout late summer season at prime harvest time. Sensible mammals!
The Chinese language revere the wolfberry as a nationwide treasure considered among the many most nutrient-dense of the nation’s vegetation. This premise has stimulated scientific investigation about its potential well being advantages and systematic cultivation, commercialization, and now rising export to first-world nations primarily in Europe and the US.
A big supply of macronutrients
The wolfberry comprises important quantities of our physique’s each day macronutrient wants, together with carbohydrates, proteins, fats and dietary fiber. The content material of a wolfberry consists of 68% carbohydrates, 12% proteins, and 10% every of fiber and fats, giving a complete caloric worth of 370 per 100-gram serving.
Soybean, one other historic Chinese language plant typically touted as one of many world’s most full meals, is comparable throughout macronutrients. Though wolfberries and soybeans are comparable in macronutrient content material, wolfberries present a considerably greater supply of energy as vitality from carbohydrates (soybeans = 173 energy). Blueberries, in contrast, wouldn’t have as a lot macronutrient or caloric worth.
The wolfberry seeds are equally useful, and include polyunsaturated fat like linoleic (omega-6) and linolenic (omega-3) acids.
The wolfberry’s massive story on micronutrients
Wolfberry’s various and excessive focus of micronutrients has earned it accolades as an distinctive well being meals. At the least 11 important minerals, 22 hint minerals, 7 nutritional vitamins and 18 amino acids outline its extraordinary micronutrient richness, with examples under:
1. Calcium: The first constituent of enamel and bones, calcium additionally has a various function in tender tissues the place it’s concerned in cardiac, neuromuscular, enzymatic, hormonal, and transport mechanisms throughout cell membranes. Wolfberries and soybeans include 112 mg and 102 mg of calcium per 100 grams serving, respectively, offering about 8-10% of our required each day consumption.
2. Potassium: An important electrolyte and enzyme cofactor, dietary potassium can decrease hypertension. By giving us about 24% our each day wants, (1132 mg/100 grams), wolfberries are a superb supply of potassium, offering greater than twice the quantity than soybeans.
3. Iron: An oxygen service in hemoglobin, iron is also a cofactor for enzymes concerned in quite a few metabolic reactions. When consumption is poor, low iron ranges trigger iron deficiency anemia, a situation that impacts thousands and thousands of kids worldwide. Wolfberry’s distinctive iron content material is twice that supplied by soybeans, typically considered the most effective plant supply of iron.
4. Zinc: Important for making proteins, DNA and the capabilities of greater than 100 enzymes, zinc is concerned in vital cell actions equivalent to membrane transport, restore and progress, particularly in infants. The zinc present in wolfberries (2 mg/100 grams) has a excessive content material (double the quantity of soybeans), that meet 20% of our each day necessities.
5. Selenium: Typically known as the “antioxidant mineral”, selenium is commonly included in dietary supplements. Selenium has unusually excessive focus in wolfberries (50 micrograms/100 grams), virtually sufficient for our each day dietary consumption, and far more than blueberries and soybeans, which include 8 micrograms or much less per 100 grams.
6. Riboflavin (vitamin B2): An important vitamin supporting vitality metabolism, riboflavin is required for synthesizing different nutritional vitamins and enzymes. A each day wolfberry serving (1.3 micrograms) offers the whole each day requirement for our our bodies, whereas soybeans and blueberries include solely hint ranges of this essential mineral.
7. Vitamin C: A common antioxidant vitamin defending different antioxidant molecules from free radical harm, the vitamin C content material in wolfberries (20 mg/100 grams) is similar to an equal weighting of recent oranges, blueberries or soybeans.
Wolfberries include dozens of phytochemicals whose health-enhancing properties are beneath scientific research. Three phytochemicals of specific curiosity embrace:
Beta-carotene: A carotenoid pigment in orange-red meals like wolfberries, pumpkins, carrots and salmon, beta-carotene is essential for synthesis of vitamin A, a fat-soluble nutrient and antioxidant important for regular progress, imaginative and prescient, cell construction, bones and enamel and wholesome pores and skin. Wolfberry’s beta-carotene content material per unit weight (7 mg/100 grams) is among the many highest for edible vegetation.
Zeaxanthin: Wolfberries are a unprecedented supply for this carotenoid that performs an essential function as a retinal pigment filter and antioxidant. Wolfberries include 162 mg/100 grams.
Polysaccharides: Lengthy-chain sugar molecules attribute of many natural medicines like mushrooms and roots, polysaccharides are a signature constituent of wolfberries, making up 31% of pulp weight in premium high quality wolfberries. Polysaccharides are a major supply of fermentable fiber in our physique’s intestinal system. Throughout colonic metabolism, fermentable or “soluble fibers” yield short-chain fatty acids that are identified to:
1. Enhance the well being of the colon epithelial lining
2. Improve mineral uptake
3. Stabilize blood glucose ranges
4. Decrease pH and cut back colon most cancers danger
5. Stimulate immune capabilities
Polysaccharides are additionally identified to assist in antioxidant exercise and defending towards threatening oxidants.
Useful Meals and Beverage Purposes
Wolfberries, that are prized for his or her shade and nut-like style, are cultivated for quite a lot of meals and beverage purposes inside China. As well as, an more and more quantity can also be used for export as dried berries, juice and powders of pulp. Not shocking, a significant effort is underway in Ningxia, China to course of wolfberries for “useful” wine.
Regardless of no “arduous” proof from medical analysis, the myths of wolfberry’s conventional well being advantages endure, together with constructive results associated to:
o Antiviral situations
o Immune-stimulating properties
o Muscular power
o Imaginative and prescient well being
In laboratory and preliminary human analysis so far, wolfberries have proven potential advantages towards:
o Cardiovascular and inflammatory ailments
o Some types of most cancers
o Untimely growing old
o Reminiscence deficits
o Imaginative and prescient degeneration
o Lung issues
o Different ailments of oxidative stress
Though not adequately demonstrated but in printed analysis, a synergy of antioxidant carotenoids (primarily beta-carotene and zeaxanthin) with polysaccharides recommend that wolfberries are an exceptionally wealthy antioxidant meals supply.
Micronutrient density, mixed with key well being phytochemicals like carotenoids and polysaccharides, give wolfberries their outstanding dietary qualities. All issues thought of, it is no marvel this berry is vying for honors as probably the most nutritious plant meals on Earth.
Increase your well being horizons, attempt wolfberries!
Wolfberry information from impartial contract laboratories, courtesy of Wealthy Nature Nutraceutical Labs, Seattle; blueberries and soybeans, World’s Healthiest Meals, http://www.whfoods.com
Gross PM, Zhang X, Zhang R. Wolfberry: Nature’s Bounty of Vitamin and Well being, Booksurge Publishing, North Charleston, 2006, ISBN 1-4196-2048-7
Copyright 2006 Berry Well being Inc.