Anti-Aging ‘Red Elixir’: Goji Berries, Jujubes and Ginger
As I approach my 30s, my, ahem, occasional chocolate-fuelled Netflix all-nighters are beginning to show …but this wasn’t part of the plan! I was supposed to have locked-in the inscrutable eating habits of a food saint by now, thus ensuring my path to enviable, buttery smooth, neoprene-tight skin well into my 70s. I was to become the next Annette Larkins, the incredible 27 year raw vegan who looks 30 but is actually 70… look her up, she’s an inspiration!
What I do know is that while it may be difficult to keep up with Larkins, conscious living incorporating healthy eating can markedly shift the appearance and impact of aging. Conventional wisdom promotes dependence on a myriad of topical products and surgical procedures for wrinkle reduction and zapping, but these methods truly have limited effects. I believe that committing to real, whole, unprocessed foods provides the building blocks not only for health and vitality, but also beauty.
With this in mind, I’d like to share a gem imparted by my amazing Chinese mother…I call it…the ‘Red Elixir’. It’s a beautifying ruby-colored tonic that can promote better circulation and digestion while balancing stress, fatigue and anxiety. The ingredients are simply goji berries, red dates and ginger, steeped in hot water.
Each of these superfoods can bring incredible benefits, are local to Asia and abundant throughout Hong Kong‘s markets and food stores…
Personally, I love to eat goji berries by the handful. There’s so much goodness in these beautifying berries. They’re adaptogens, a class of foods that adapts to our bodies’ needs. For example, if the stress hormone cortisol is high, an adaptogen can lower it; if it’s too low, it can raise it. Goji berries are also high in vitamin C, assisting in the formation of collagen, a protein that helps regenerate new skin cells and blood vessels, while helping to protect your skin from damaging free radicals, encouraging a natural glow.
Red dates (a.k.a. jujubes) are the next stars of this beautifying tonic. Medical research shows that red dates can help treat anemia, stimulating new blood cell growth. Like goji berries, this nourishing fruit is high in vitamin C, boasting 20 times more than the most potent citrus fruit. It also promotes relaxation, surely a practice essential for graceful ageing. Ginger is another powerful adaptogen which I use almost everyday. This knobby, unassuming root helps to increase metabolism and remove the toxins that cause premature ageing. Try grating a little for ginger tea when you’ve overindulged, feel sluggish, or need some warmth.
At the market choose ginger that is firm and doesn’t have any soft, dark or moist spots, avoiding dried out ginger with wrinkled skin. I recommend using a peeler to remove the skin, since non-organic varieties can concentrate toxins in the skin.
Enjoy the Red Elixir. And don’t forget, aging gracefully entails a mindset and lifestyle shift – no more Netflix n’ chocolate for me. Promise…
‘Red Elixir’ Recipe
- ¼ cup goji berries
- ½ cup dried red dates, pitted
- 2 inches ginger, sliced
- Add your grated ginger, gojis, jujubes, and boiled water into a teapot and steep of 10-15 minutes.
- Keep adding hot water to the ingredients for a tonic that’ll last all day.
*If goji and jujube aren’t organic, run some hot water through to wash out any chemicals.
*The gojis and jujubes bring natural sweetness but if you want something sweeter add some raw honey after boiling so you don’t kill the good bacteria.
One cup of the ‘Red Elixir’ comes to about $15
Other Local Asian Superfoods in Hong Kong
Burdock Root: detoxifies the bloodstream, encouraging skin issues like acne, eczema and psoriasis to clear up. Shop for burdock at any local market or supermarket and boil into a tea, soup or stir-fry.
Cordycep Mushrooms: can neutralise stress and fatigue, rejuvenate skin, eliminate dead cells and strengthen immunity. They impart a rich, buttery flavor when cooked with rice. Check out Chinese herbal stores on Wing Lok Street in Sheung Wan for these mushrooms. Some Fusion locations sell them too.
Black Sesame Seeds: assist in moisturizing skin, balancing hormones, protecting the heart and can help burn fat. They’re easy to spot in any local market or supermarket.
Moringa: lowers blood sugar, reduces inflammation, maintains healthy cholesterol, protect against arsenic toxicity. Go to Worldwide House in Central for this amazing herb.
Ginseng: Boosts energy and lowers blood sugar; find ginseng in various Chinese Herbal stores such as on Wing Lok Street in Sheung Wan.