The more you eat this fruit, the better your chances of avoiding early-stage AMD. It’s also beneficial to those with healthy eyes since it blocks out damaging blue light and gives antioxidant protection.
Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the most common cause of vision loss as people get older.
However, the condition can be avoided, and a recent study published in the journal Nutrients reveals that the popular superfood goji berries may be an effective prevention method.
A group of researchers asked 13 people who were healthy and between the ages of 45 and 65 to drink about an ounce of dried goji berries five times a week for three months. Another group of 14 people took a commercial supplement for eye health during the same time.
When researchers compared the level of protective pigments in their eyes before and after the study period, they found that only the goji berry group improved, while the supplement group did not.
According to the study’s main author, Xiang Li, Ph.D.(c), of the University of California, Davis’ nutritional biology department, the eye health improvement most likely came from two compounds—lutein and zeaxanthin—which are abundant in berries and have been shown to alleviate eye diseases associated with AMD.
“These two compounds are like sunscreen for your eyes,” says the author, adding, “the higher the amount is in your retina, the more protection you have. That’s important for early-stage AMD, but it’s also helpful even for those with healthy eyes because it filters out harmful blue light and provides antioxidant protection.”
She goes on to say that one of the advantages of dried goji berries is that it just takes a small bit to make a difference, and the ingredients are also extremely bioavailable. That implies they’re usually well absorbed in the digestive tract and can be used by the body, according to Li.
According to another study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are also found together in certain foods, with the best sources including egg yolks, corn, orange bell pepper, spinach, zucchini, and several types of squash.
Whatever path you take, Li emphasizes the need of focusing on excellent nutrition to protect your eyes as you age. AMD can impair your ability to recognize faces and read by affecting your central field of vision. There are usually no signs in the early stages, so caring about your eye health now can go a long way toward protecting it as you become older.
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