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Nutrition

Who said carrots help you see in the dark? Bilberries, please

The first time that people made a link between bilberry consumption and eye health was in World War II, when pilots began to eat bilberry jam before night time missions - claiming that it helped them see better in the dark.

Since then, scientists have examined the benefits of bilberry and eye health, and those in the know take advantage of what bilberries can do for their eyes.

Originally in herb form, bilberry is much like a blueberry in appearance.

However, it is now most commonly and easily taken in capsule form.

Vision

"Night vision is improved because the anthocyanidins found in bilberries boost the production of a pigment that helps the eyes to adapt to lighting changes," said specialist Pamela Gentry.

These antioxidants are thought to be even more powerful than the ones found in Vitamin E and Vitamin C.

They strengthen the capillaries in the eye which in turn improve our vision.

Eye infections

It is thought that bilberry can help with common eye infections such as conjunctivitis.

The herb has anti-inflammatory properties which assist quick recovery from infections that cause swollen eyelids.

"Bilberry extract has been suggested as a treatment for retinal damage as it contains bioflavonoids, which aid in removing toxic chemicals from the eye," Ms Gentry said.

Cataracts

According to the Eye Health Centre, bilberries could help prevent cataracts.

Bilberry "protects against various visual disturbances such as glaucoma by maintaining blood vessel integrity in the eyes [and it] reduces the visually debilitating occurrence of commonly occurring cataracts by stabilizing connective tissue in the eye," it explained.

Older people are encouraged to take bilberry as a preventative medicine as they are more likely to suffer cataracts than the younger generation.

In addition, bilberry is also thought to support general circulation in the body and oxygenation of tissues.

Posted by Matilda Jones

 
 
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