Why are goji berries and red dates a staple in confinement?

Why are goji berries and red dates a staple in confinement - Tian Wei Signature

Confinement or not, goji berries and red dates can be commonly found in Chinese cuisines. They are deeply integrated into our day-to-day foods that we have in a Chinese household or a restaurant. These ingredients not only add colour and vibrancy to the foods we prepare, they also enhance flavours naturally and provide a sweet taste. This helps us to reduce added sugar in our cooked meals. 

Goji berries, also known as wolfberries or “gou qi zi” in Mandarin, are the red-fleshed versions of the golden fruit of the genus Prunus. There are three varieties of goji berries. Prunus orientalis (Goji berries) is the most commonly consumed goji berries in North America and is the most commonly found in the U.S. However, there are many regions of Asia that prefer the Prunus mume (Japanese Goji Berry) and therefore they are a bit more difficult to find. 

Red date or commonly known internationally as jujube is a type of date which may have initially been found in Southern Asia as well as Central and Southern China. Nowadays, it can also be found in Southeastern Europe and even cultivated in Southern California. Both Chinese and Korean cuisines used fresh and dried forms of red dates. The latter is normally used in traditional medicine. A common beverage prepared by both Chinese and Korean culture is brewed red date tea. In particular for postpartum confinement practice in Singapore, red date tea confinement drink is considered a staple drink to help new mothers recover from child delivery.

There are many nutritional and Traditional Chinese Medicine reasoning as to why and how red dates and goji berries play a part in a healthy confinement meal plan. Here are some of the reasons we found.

They contain vitamin C, vitamin A, fibre, potassium, antioxidants

Goji berries and red dates contain vitamins C, A, and fibre, among other nutrients. They also contain antioxidants, which reduce free radical damage to the body. These substances fight harmful effects that are generated through the everyday activities of our lives, such as smoking, drinking, and stress. This sweetener can help your body absorb iron. As iron helps the body get oxygen to the cells.

They promote wound healing 

According to Food Data central by USDA, every 100g of dried red dates has 218 mg of Vitamin C. Red dates are potent antioxidants. Due to high vitamin C content, this ingredient has been associated with health benefits such as wound healing, especially in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This remains to be true since scientific research also suggests that vitamin C helps to improve the absorption of iron into the body. This is particularly helpful during wound healing as the body may have lost some blood and needs to produce new red blood cells. 

Besides that, Vitamin C also plays a role in the formation of collagen. The body does not only need platelets to stop bleeding, the body needs to form a scab to cover the wound and build new skin. So along with Iron, Zinc, Vitamin A and protein, collagen will be able to form well. Some research and theories suggested that red dates play a role in erythropoiesis which is the process of producing matured and functional red blood cells.

They support healthy vision

We all know vitamin A is the main vitamin known to support the vision and prevent night blindness. Vitamin A can be found in two main forms which are carotenoids and preformed retinol which is the active form of Vitamin A. Carotenoids are found in plant origins like carrot, pumpkin and sweet potato while preformed retinol are found in animal origins like animal liver, whole milk and some fortified foods. 

Goji berries have become a part of health regimens in recent years, and most often, they are taken as a supplement to improve vision and support nerve function. Nutritionally, goji berries are high in vitamin A! So no wonder it’s famously known to support vision back in ancient times. Goji berries are potent antioxidants. 

Goji berries & red dates from the perspective of TCM

Both goji berries and red dates are believed to have medicinal function as well that can be beneficial to maintaining good health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, goji berries are a herb that mainly tonify the blood. 

It has neutral properties neither cold nor warm and enters meridians of liver, lung and kidney. Its usage is normally used to nourish and tonify liver and kidney blood as well as Yin for any liver and kidney deficiency. It also helps to brighten the eyes. Another known function of goji berries is to help nourish Yin and moisten the lungs to reduce thirst. 

As for red dates, it is a herb that tonify the Qi. It has warm properties and enters meridians of the spleen and stomach. Its usage is to tonify the spleen and stomach as well as increase Qi. This will help mothers to improve energy levels and digestion. 

Besides that, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, red dates help to nourish the blood and calm the spirit. This is especially important after childbirth when mothers have lost blood and body fluids and are blood deficient. Besides that, they may also be more prone to feeling more anxious especially during early postpartum. Therefore, helping to keep them calm would be helpful. 

Red dates also help to moderate and harmonize the harsh properties of other herbs. That’s why it’s commonly recommended to drink every day under traditional confinement practices with your confinement meals which may have other herbs as well. 

One of the best confinement food Singapore you can enjoy is at Tian Wei Signature. Goji berries and red dates can be found in many of our Chinese stir-fried mixed vegetables, soups and traditional herbal confinement meals. It’s a great way to balance out savouriness with some sweetness. Furthermore, every meal comes with a cup of red dates tea for all mummies during confinement to enjoy. So long as there is no added sugar to these red dates tea and does not have underlying diabetes,  mummies can enjoy this red date tea confinement drink during this time.