GOJI: The Go-To Berry for Nutrients, Good Health

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by Kai-Chang Chan

Goji berry, also known as Wolfberry, has been enjoyed for thousands of years in Asia, both as a fruit and as a health supplement. This bright red berry is usually sundried for preservation purposes, and it has a mild, sweet taste. The goji berry is a member of the Solanaceae, or nightshades, family of flowering plants. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the whole goji berry plant provides healthful benefits.

Goji berries are rich in amino acids, antioxidants, vitamin A, thiamine, ribofl avin, vitamin C, fi ber and key minerals. Goji berries have been widely prescribed by Chinese Medicine practitioners to brighten eyesight, ease thirst for people with diabetes, help with dizziness and improve the immune system.

Goji berries can be eaten as a snack both in raw and dried form. They are used in juices and herbal teas as well. Dried goji berries can be used in the same ways that raisins and cranberries are used. Sprinkle them over granola, oatmeal or yogurt to add bright color and rich nutrients to your diet. Enjoy this super food by putting a handful of goji berries in your homemade cookies, muffi ns, energy bars or a scone recipe. Look for them online or in the health food section of your local grocery store, and start incorporating goji berries into your diet.

Kai-Chang ChanKai-Chang Chan, L. Ac., M.A.O.M, was born in Taiwan and teaches in the San Antonio classrooms of Texas Health and Science University. He is a practitioner at the Acupuncture Health Clinic, 9240 Guilbeau Rd., 210-901- 1234, www.acupuncturehealthsa.com. For more information about THSU classes in San Antonio and Austin, visit www.thsu.edu.

 


OATMEAL GOJI BERRY COOKIES

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup goji berries

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped pecans (or any favorite nut)

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 pinch of salt

1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal, uncooked

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place the pecans on a sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Slowly add the egg and vanilla extract, beat again until mixed.
  • Wisk the flour, baking powder, salt together into a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.
  • Add the oats, Goji berries, raisins and pecans and mix until combined.
  • Line two sheet trays with parchment paper. Use two tablespoons of dough per cookie. Flatten slightly with a damp hand.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Transfer the cookies to a baking rack and cool completely.

Enjoy this healthy cookie made from scratch with a favorite drink. If you still have some goji berries left in the packet, pour hot water into a mug and add 1/4 cup of goji berries to make a nice herbal tea.

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