I know what you’re thinking. Not another health article stating the benefits of goji berries! Okay, fair enough, but this article is different. Instead of listing the numerous health benefits of these little Chinese berries, we’ll be diving into one benefit in particular: eye health.
Why? Because almost 200 MILLION of you guys worldwide are suffering from some form of macular degeneration. And that number is expected to increase to about 288 million by 2020 (source). That’s only 3 years away, y’all.
Real quick: macular degeneration is basically when this little part of the back of your eye, called the macula, deteriorates. The macula helps you see things with crispy fine detail. So naturally, blurred vision is a symptom.
Okay how the heck do goji berries help the eyes?
For starters, goji berries are jam-packed with antioxidants. These little micronutrients help your immune system, and protect your body from high levels of inflammation by fighting off free radical damage. Free radical damage is basically what happens when a fruit starts to brown over time. This is a super simplified version of what’s happening to the back of your eye if you have macular degeneration. Antioxidants keep our insides from looking like browned fruit.
One study published (here) found that drinking goji berry juice daily for 90 days significantly increases plasma zeaxanthin, which is an antioxidant that protects the eyes from harmful high-energy light waves (like ultraviolet rays in sunlight). Most of us don’t realize how much the sun effects our vision over time. Be sure to wear sunglasses, even if you think your eyes are fine. And try some goji berry juice!
In traditional Chinese medicine, people are often prescribed 40 to 100 goji berries a day to preserve eyesight in the elderly. But in one study, they found that just 15 goji berries a day could protect against loss of pigment and prevent the buildup of “soft drusen” (which is basically debris that builds up in the back of the eye). Both of these are related to macular degeneration. Best of all? It was a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial, the gold standard in nutritional science. It looks like goji berries aren’t an ancient Chinese secret anymore!
Now that you understand why goji berries are important for eye health, it’s time for you to include them in your daily diet. Well, at least 15 of them, right? Here’s a few recipes: