Dried wolfberries or goji berries are the sun-dried version of the regular goji berry. Because they have almost no water, yet preserve the same types of nutrients and antioxidants due to a safe, non-altering drying method, dried goji berries are actually much healthier, supplying the body with greater amounts of vitamins compared to the fresh fruit. If you enjoy their sweet-bitter taste and somewhat chewy texture, then dried goji are the perfect choice for you.
Many people enjoy them at breakfast or as a midday snack because they boost energy levels as a result of their dense nutrient content. Dried goji are a great substitute for unhealthy snack foods because of their pleasant taste and chewy texture as well as excellent nutritional value. Regular consumption contributes to improved vitamin and mineral intakes and overall better health.
What do dried goji berries look like? Dried goji berries are elongated, pointy, chewy, red-orange fruit with a delicate, sweet, yet slightly tart flavor and mildly bitter aftertaste. They go wonderfully well with muesli, oats and yogurt and, at the same time, make a genuinely healthy treat on their own. What is the difference between fresh goji berries and dried goji berries? Simple: the dried fruit have virtually no water in them. This leads to an increased nutritional profile because the same amount of essential nutrients and antioxidants is concentrated in significantly less pulp, allowing one to actually eat more of the dried fruit, which adds to the health benefits.
What are the benefits?
1) Dried goji berries are richer in antioxidants than fresh goji meaning they provide considerably more protection to cells and DNA. When we are exposed to harmful reactive oxygen molecules called free radicals, the antioxidant in dried goji berries react and protect and repair damaged cells, contributing, to a certain extent, to lower risks of certain chronic diseases and possibly also cancers.
2) The greater amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants, make dried goji berries ideal for eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin protect the retina against free radicals from blue light which, in time, may cause loss of vision or detached retina. Also, because they preserve their orange-red color, dried goji berries are a rich source of beta-carotene. Aside from promoting tanning, beta-carotene from natural sources such as goji berries is efficient against cataract and skin cancer.
3) Due to a higher antioxidant concentration, dried goji berries boast greater benefits for our cardiovascular health. More antioxidants per same unit of fruit means more protection for our artery walls which translates into lower risks of plaque blocking blood flow and causing cardiovascular events such as stroke or atherosclerosis.
4) Dried goji berries have more iron than steak. This is a genuine relief for people suffering from anemia who can start improving their condition by including fruits such as fresh and dried goji berries in their diet. However, the type of iron in plant sources is different from that in animal sources, but nonetheless healthy and usable. Taking vitamin C can help improve the absorption of iron, further increasing its health benefits.
5) Last but not least, the polysaccharides (type of carbohydrates) in fresh goji fruit were found to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells. Sun-dried goji fruit preserve these polysaccharides intact and, by doubling nutrient concentration per any standard unit of measurement, they provide more potent anticancer protection.
When you eat dried goji berries you take in even twice as much antioxidants because the water that was weighing the fresh fruit down and filling you up is no longer there, leaving more room in your stomach for nutrient-packed skin and pulp. Here is a concrete example: if 100 g of fresh goji berries contains more beta-carotene than 100 g of carrots, then think about how much the dried fruit actually contains. Maybe even twice as much beta-carotene than fresh fruit. Also see the benefits of goji berries (fresh).
When choosing dried goji berries over fresh ones think about the fact that you are choosing more vitamins, more minerals and more antioxidants over a higher water content which translates into more health benefits for you. Vitamins, dietary minerals and other nutrients are the pillars of good health. The reason we eat is so that our body can get its nutrients and use them to perform vital functions that keep us alive and healthy. So why not choose nutrient-packed foods such as goji and other berries?