As beauty editors, we consider ourselves fairly well-versed when it comes to superfoods. We snack on blueberries to load up on antioxidants and chop up tomatoes to decrease our chances of sunburn. And yet, there’s always something new and unknown out there—in this case, we’re talking about the ancient Chinese goji berry. We started noticing them as our açaí bowl obsession increased since they’re frequently sprinkled on top for a mere dollar more.
Intrigued, we decided to do some digging—and what we found was major. Quite simply put, these little berries are chock-full of antioxidants, fight free radicals like none other, and can give you clearer, brighter skin. Think of them like a way, way more potent version of the berries we know and love. It’s no wonder women in China have been adding them to their tea since ancient times. Keep scrolling to find out all about these beneficial berries.
Goji Berries Are the Antioxidant Superhero
In the Ningxia Hui region of Northern China where goji berries are grown and eaten daily, there are 16 times as many people over the age of 100 than in the rest of the country. Goji berries are a total antioxidant powerhouse and are a major source of vitamin C, minerals, amino acids, carotenoids, and polysaccharides—all of which have amazing benefits, ranging from improving skin's elasticity to collagen production.
Benefits of Goji Berries
“Goji berries have been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and protective properties,” says dermatologist Sejal Shah, MD. In other words, the benefits aren't just skin deep—studies have shown that consuming goji berries also significantly reduces immunosuppression, all thanks to their antioxidant properties. But wait—it gets better…
Free Radical Fighters
Ever heard of something called the ORAC? It stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity and was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1999 when they found that foods with high ORAC values may help slow the aging process and protect your cells from free radicals. Free radicals are the bad guys that can cause everything from premature aging to more serious health issues (cancer included). Blueberries have 2400 ORAC, while prunes have 5700. Goji berries, however, have an astounding 25,000. “They protect the skin against ultraviolet-induced damage and have also been shown to block melanin production,” Shah says. In other words, these tiny berries are the free radical fighters your body has been waiting for.
Before you go shoveling this superfood into your mouth by the handful—10 to 30 grams is the recommended daily serving for goji berries.
Adding Goji Berries to Your Skincare Routine
Many brands incorporate this beneficial berry into their products, and it’s very easy to rotate them into your daily routine. Shah suggests this tinted moisturizer from First Aid Beauty, shown above. It’s super lightweight and gives you buildable coverage, all while utilizing the goji berry as its main ingredient to brighten the complexion, strengthen the skin’s elasticity, and even out skin texture. For all of you DIY fans out there, Shah gave us the scoop on how to make your own at-home goji berry face mask. Just steep the berries in hot water, and spread the cooled liquid over your skin with a cotton round—it's that simple!
Adding Goji Berries to Your Menu
There are so many different ways to enjoy goji berries. You can buy them raw and dried at any health store (or even online) and pop them into your mouth as a snack (they taste slightly sweet, with an herbal aftertaste). Another option is adding them to your morning smoothie, trail mix, cereal, and even baked goods (a Pinterest search will yield plenty of yummy-looking recipes). For a soothing sip, you can brew goji berries in tea—just add a handful to a glass of hot or cold water and let them sit for about 10 minutes. They’ll plump up and get juicy, and then you can drink the tea and eat the berries. Simple!
Click here to find out more skin secrets from ancient China.