Ingredient of the month: Goji berry
What is it?
Also known as Lycium barbarum, the sweet, ruby-red goji berry comes from a vigorous plant that grows up to 10 feet tall. Fruit is produced between mid-August and October.

Where does it come from?
Mountain valleys of Tibet and Mongolia.

When was it discovered?
Folklore dates its use to more than 3,000 years ago in Tibet and China.

How is it beneficial?
The goji berry is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. It has 18 amino acids, 500 times more vitamin C by weight than an orange and 21 trace minerals.
It is a rich source of beta-carotene, with more than carrots. The 13 per cent protein in the goji berry is higher than whole wheat with an insulinlike action effective in fat decomposition.

The berry has calcium; magnesium; vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E; and polysaccharides; and it is used as an immune-booster and revered as a sexual tonic and fertility enhancer in parts of Asia. It is also said to increase energy and reduce fatigue, engender a sense of wellbeing and help curb appetite.

What can be done with it?
Goji berries are commonly juiced or eaten dried. The berries can be soaked in purified water for eight hours and used in muffins, pancakes or cereal. Goji is also used in skincare products, specifically to calm rosacealike symptoms, sensitivity and irritation.

— Ann Marie Swan

Industry insights from NBJ
The $62 billion US weight-loss products market in 2005

Nutrition Business Journal, NBJ's Sports Nutrition & Weight Loss Report; NBJ March 2005 issue;

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