Study links dried goji berries with age-related vision loss

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In Chinese medicine, goji berries are said to have “eye brightening” qualities

Regularly eating a small serving of dried goji berries may help prevent or delay the development of age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, in healthy middle-aged people, according to a small, randomized trial conducted at the University of California, Davis.

The researchers found that 13 healthy participants aged 45 to 65 who consumed 28 grams (about one ounce, or a handful) of goji berries five times a week for 90 days increased the density of protective pigments in their eyes. In contrast, 14 study participants who consumed a commercial supplement for eye health over the same period did not show an increase.

The pigments that increased in the group that ate goji berries, lutein and zeaxanthin, filter out harmful blue light and provide antioxidant protection. Both help to protect the eyes during aging.

Goji berries are the fruit of Lycium chinense and Lycium barbarum, two species of shrubby bushes found in northwest China. The dried berries are a common ingredient in Chinese soups and are popular as herbal tea. They are similar to raisins and eaten as a snack.

Although the results are promising, the researchers note that the study size was small and more research will be needed.

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