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    Goji Berries - The Key to Longevity and an Ageless Body?

    By Lauren Felts | April 26, 2016

    Learn how a little red fruit called the goji berry contains the secret to limitless health and an ageless body.

    As the years speed by and our youth slips between our fingertips, we begin to look for ways in which to hold onto what we once had - wrinkle-free skin, pain-free joints, boundless energy and a body untouched by time. While a clean diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, daily exercise, ample sleep and six glasses of water a day is our foundation for getting there, there is one thing we can do to really take action. This is to take advantage of a tiny berry called the Goji Berry, or Lycium berry.

    The goji berry has been used for over 2,000 years as a traditional medicinal tonic herb, revered for its ability to stimulate hGH (human growth hormone), therefore promoting vitality, longevity, energy and stamina. These tiny berries are a complete protein, contain 21 trace minerals, vitamin A and E, and contain more iron than spinach and more vitamin C than an orange. This makes them vital for clear skin, a strong immune system, good vision and healthy blood. But their most impressive attribute, and their main mode for claiming numerous research studies is their “high-ORAC†content.

    Goji berries are one of the highest ORAC foods, making them one of the most protective foods on earth. ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorption capacity - the ability to neutralize free radicals (pro-oxidants), those that are damaging to the cells of the body. The higher the ORAC content, the stronger the antioxidant capability and the ability to protect against degenerative disease, the development of cancer, Alzheimer's disease and the overall damage of the body's cells and tissues.
    Research suggests that consumption of antioxidant-rich foods, like Goji berries, may slow down, prevent, or reverse the damage that occurs to the body from the natural aging and oxidation processes. This includes body damage from stress, poor nutrition, meat, sugar, alcohol, and chemical exposure… and who doesn't check off on being guilty of one of those!

    Just one handful of goji berries a day is all that it takes. In that one handful, you will receive the unique and powerful nutrients, zeaxanthin, beatine and polysaccharides. Zeaxanthin protects against macular degeneration, betaine supports liver and cardiovascular function, and polysaccharides have anti-infective properties. Not only that, one handful of goji berries will also stimulate the production of SOD (superoxide dismutase), a natural antioxidant able to fight the most dangerous of free radicals.

    SOD has been called the youth enzyme for evidence suggests that boosting SOD levels may help guard against disease and extend life span. SOD protects the brain, heart, kidneys, liver and other organs, preventing numerous degenerative diseases, including atherosclerosis, stroke, heart attack, chronic and acute inflammatory conditions, and various other age-related disorders. As if we weren't convinced enough, research studies have confirmed that goji berries have chemoprotective potential in breast cancer treatment, and can improve bone damage and bone loss while lowering inflammation in arthritic conditions. One other very interesting study revealed that goji berries enhance the efficacy of the influenza (flu) vaccination - how curious!

    Goji berries have a semi sweet taste, with a texture similar to raisins. While I love eating them straight or in this perfect balance trail mix, they easily lend themselves to homemade bar recipes, smoothies and even more savory dishes like this carrot goji soup. If you are just getting started, try making one of my favorite recipes, chocolate cherry goji bars. These are my go-to food when rushing through the day, giving me a great boost of energy to get things done. And finally, if you're really looking to maximize your anti-aging potential, think outside of the box and start adding goji berries to all kinds of recipes like this sake sangria. Now that's what I call aging smart!