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The berries that save the eyesight

The berries that save the eyesight

Two very recent scientific researches draw attention to two foods that, thanks to their content in carotenoids and anthocyanins, can help protect the health of the eye and retina from the degenerations that can affect it. We are talking about goji berries and aronia fruits. The researches were both published a few days ago in the journal Nutrients (Li et al, Nutrients, 2021 - Xing et al, Nutrients, 2021).

The beneficial properties of goji berries

In the eye we find two pigments, lutein and zeaxanthin, which have the function of protecting the retina from the damage of blue light and from the attack of free radicals. But these two substances are also present in some foods, the integration of which in the diet, it is believed, can help counteract the degeneration of the macula, the central part of the retina. Well, goji berries are one of the richest food sources of zeaxanthin. Precisely for this reason, the first research focused on the sight-saving properties of goji berries. 27 volunteers, aged between 45 and 65 and in good health, were recruited. The study participants were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to consume 28 grams of goji berries five days a week for 3 months. The second group took a supplement containing lutein and zeaxanthin instead. At the beginning and at the end of the experiment, all the volunteers were given a measurement of the optical density of the macular pigment, which is an index of vision health, as it allows us to understand the concentration of the protective pigments lutein and zeaxanthin at the level of the macula. What emerged was that the optical density of macular pigment increased significantly in the group that had taken the goji berries. Therefore, together with the density of pigments, the protective capacity of these antioxidants is also increased. However, the same result was not observed in the group that had taken the lutein and zeaxanthin supplement. The explanation for what has been observed is that goji berries can actually help protect the retina from the damage of aging and degeneration, but also that it is not only lutein and zeaxanthin that determine these sight-saving properties. In the case of goji berries, we are talking about a synergy of substances, including lutein, zeaxanthin, but also taurine, vitamin C, zinc and polysaccharides with an anti-aging action, which act for the well-being of the eyes.

Aronia protects the retina

The second study instead studied the action of the aronia fruits on the retina. These fruits are dark colored berries, very rich in anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants. Well, based on tests conducted in the laboratory, it emerged that aronia berries, due to the high content of antioxidants, were able to protect the retina, relieving oxidative stress and helping to prevent forms of macular degeneration. Not only that, aronia is also able to protect retinal nerve cells from aging processes and programmed death.
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