Meet the Ancient Chinese Berry That Helps People Live Longer

Updated 04/18/19

As beauty editors, we consider ourselves fairly well versed when it comes 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 the skin benefits of goji berries.

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Antioxidant Superheroes

Supposedly, in the Ningxia Hui region of Northern China where goji berries are grown and eaten on a daily basis, there are 16 times as many people over the age of 100 as in the rest of the country. How crazy is that? Goji berries are a total antioxidant powerhouse and are a major source of vitamin C, minerals, amino acids, carotenoids, and polysaccharides—all things that do everything from support collagen production to protect your skin’s elasticity.

“Goji berries have been found to have
anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and protective properties,” says dermatologist Sejal Shah, MD. In other words, the benefits goji berries give your body are reflected in your glowy visage. Furthermore, studies have shown that consuming goji berries significantly reduces skin inflammation and immune suppression, all thanks to their antioxidant properties. But wait—it gets better…

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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 it 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. Can you guess what goji berries have? We’ll just go ahead and tell you: 25,000.

In other words, these tiny berries are the free radical fighters your body has been waiting for.

“They protect the skin against ultraviolet-induced damage and have also been shown block melanin production,” Shah says. But before you go shoveling these berries into your mouth by the handful, know that like with all foods, too much of a good thing can either backfire or simply pass through your system—10 to 30 grams is a normal daily serving for goji berries.

How to Incorporate Them Into Your Skincare

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Many products incorporate this super berry into their formulas and it’s very easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Shah suggests this tinted moisturizer from First Aid Beauty. It’s super lightweight and gives you buildable coverage while utilizing the goji berry as its main ingredient to brighten complexion, strengthen the skin’s elasticity, and even out skin texture. You can even make your own mask for a more DIY solution. She says all you have to do is seep berries in hot water and once the water has cooled, spread the liquid all over your face with a cotton ball or pad.

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How to Eat Them

There are tons of different ways to eat 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). Or add them to your morning smoothie, trail mix, cereal, and even baked goods (a good 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! Have you ever tried goji berries? Click here to find out more skin secrets from ancient China.

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