Daily Goji Berries Prevent AMD

Daily Goji Berries Prevent AMD

You may not find goji berries in your supermarket fruit aisle but tracking them down through your local health food store or ordering them online could be a sight saving move. This slightly sweet, raisin-texture fruit has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Native to Asia and sometimes referred to as wolf berries, goji berries claim status as a highly charged superfood. 

These little red powerhouses are chock full of so many nutritional benefits that just a handful a day could be the tastiest, most robust, beneficial supplement you ever added to your diet. So much so, that research is finding that a daily dose of goji berries could help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD). If you want to do your eyes right, consider goji berries as the best offense against this blinding disease.

The Red Diamond

The bright red color and unique shaped formation of the dried goji berry gives it its name amongst cultivators as “the red diamond”. Harvested in the upper echelon of Northwest China, bursting along the shoreline of the Yellow River, just under the picturesque Liupan Mountains, communities of the Ningxia region gather this superfood as if it were gold.  According to an article by the BBC, 

“Legend has it that more than 2,000 years ago a doctor visited a village in China where everyone was more than 100 years old. He discovered that they all drank from a well that was surrounded by goji berries….Tales are also told of a 17th-Century herbalist called Li Qing Yuen who ate goji berries every day and was said to have lived until he was 252 years old…Chinese mothers would tell their children that the berries would stop them from needing glasses to get them to finish their bowls.”

The Chinese consume goji berries unless one is feeling “heaty” which is the description for being feverish, having inflammation, or a sore throat. It is also avoided if someone has a ‘damp’ constitution or spleen deficiency which usually presents with diarrhea. Otherwise, goji berries can be found in all sorts of recipes including soups, salads, and even breakfast dishes. However, research shows that just a handful of these tasty red diamonds a day could be highly beneficial in preventing macular degeneration. 

A Zeaxanthin Powerhouse

Zeaxanthin (zee-uh-zan-thin) is carotenoid molecule. A carotenoid is a fat-soluble yellow, orange, or red pigment compound (aka terpenoid) which gives certain plants color. The amazing thing about these compounds is that even though they come from plants they are found embedded in the human retina. It is believed that this is one of many forms of evidence that confirms the connection between plants and humans. It is of particular importance because zeaxanthin is very high in antioxidants which is essential for maintaining optical health. Those deficient in zeaxanthin may be at risk for macular degeneration.

Zeaxanthin along with lutein has been linked to retinal health by:

  • Absorbing blue light
  • Extinguishing free radicals
  • Increasing membrane stability

Goji berries are high in zeaxanthin and only a handful a day may be all it takes to protect your retina against AMD. 

Tracking the Goji Berry Effect

As researchers discover more natural remedies for the prevention or slowing of macular degeneration, less reliance on pharmaceutical fixes may be needed. One such natural remedy that is showing significant promise is dried goji berries. 

A randomized controlled trial of Goji berry effects on macular characteristics and plasma antioxidant levels, published in Optometry and Vision Science: The Official Publication of the American Academy of Optometry, concluded that,

“Overall, daily dietary supplementation with goji berry for 90 days increases plasma zeaxanthin and antioxidant levels as well as protects from hypopigmentation and soft drusen accumulation in the macula of elderly subjects.”

Drusen is a plaque-like waste that can form on the macula and, over time, manifest into assisting macula degeneration.

Another randomized controlled trial published in the journal Nutrients by researchers from UC Davis, Davis CA, reported that, 

“This study examined the effects of Z-rich goji berry intake on MPOD [macular pigment optical density] and skin carotenoids in healthy individuals. A randomized, unmasked, parallel-arm study was conducted with 27 participants, aged 45-65, who consumed [] 28 g of goji berries five times weekly…Regular intake of goji berries in a healthy middle-aged population increases MPOD may help prevent or delay the development of AMD.”

Goji Berry Recipes

If you want to go beyond a handful of goji berries per day for macular degeneration prevention, here are a few ways to add them to some tasty recipes, courtesy of the Huffington Post.

Superfood Berry Chia Breakfast


Chia Pudding

2 tablespoons Chia seeds, white or black

1/2 cup Unsweetened almond or sunflower seed milk

1 teaspoon Vanilla bean powder (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)

1/2 teaspoon Ground cinnamon


2 tablespoons Goldenberries

2 tablespoons Goji berries

2 tablespoons Dried mulberries

2 tablespoons Raw Cashews

1 teaspoon Raw cacao nibs (optional but good)

Start by soaking your chia seeds in the sunflower or almond milk. Whisk well with a fork and make sure to break up any clumps. Whisk in the vanilla powder and cinnamon. Let sit for 5 minutes, stir again, and place in the fridge 30 minutes or overnight.

No-Bake Protein Goji Berry Granola Bars


1 cup rolled or quick oats (gluten-free)

½ cup cashew pieces, chopped

½ cup almond, chopped

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

2 Tablespoons protein powder

¼ cup ground flax seed

⅔ cup peanut or almond butter (organic)

½ to ⅔ cup agave nectar

⅛ teaspoon sea salt (adjust based on which nut butter you use)

½ cup goji berries

1 tablespoon cacao nibs (optional)

Mix oats, cashew pieces, chopped almonds, sunflower seeds, protein powder, and flax seeds in a large bowl. Whisk together nut butter, agave, and sea salt. Pour into oat mixture and mix well, until everything is sticky and combined. If it’s too dry, add a bit more agave. Add the goji berries and mix well.

Press mixture into a shallow 8″ baking dish that you’ve lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Cover with more parchment paper or plastic wrap, press well into the dish, and refrigerate for 4 hours. Cut into bar shapes, and keep refrigerated. Makes 10–15 bars.

Looks like daily goji berries can help prevent AMD so go visit your local health food store or online health guru and get your goji on!