Leafy greens, beet­root could help pre­vent vi­sion is­sues

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Front Page -

New re­search in Aus­tralian has found that a diet rich in veg­etable ni­trates, par­tic­u­larly leafy greens and beet­root, may help re­duce the risk of de­vel­op­ing early-stage age-re­lated mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion (AMD). Car­ried out by re­searchers at the West­mead In­sti­tute for Med­i­cal Re­search, the new study set out to as­sess the re­la­tion­ship be­tween di­etary ni­trate, found pre­dom­i­nantly in green leafy vegeta­bles and beet­root, and AMD.

When con­sumed these di­etary ni­trates are con­verted to ni­tric ox­ide, with un­der- or over­pro­duc­tion of ni­tric ox­ide linked to sev­eral eye dis­eases. How­ever, the po­ten­tial ef­fect of di­etary ni­trates on the risk of AMD had not been in­ves­ti­gated. For the new re­search the team in­ter­viewed 2,037 par­tic­i­pants over the age 49 about their diet and fol­lowed them over a 15-year pe­riod.

The find­ings, pub­lished in the Jour­nal of the Acad­emy of Nu­tri­tion and Di­etet­ics, showed that af­ter ad­just­ing for fac­tors such as age, sex, smok­ing sta­tus and fish in­take, par­tic­i­pants who ate be­tween 100 to 142 mgs of veg­etable ni­trates each day had a 35 per cent lower risk of de­vel­op­ing early AMD than peo­ple who ate less than 69mgs of veg­etable ni­trates each day.

To put this into con­text, spinach has ap­prox­i­mately 20mg of ni­trate per 100g, while beet­root has nearly 15mg of ni­trate per 100g. How­ever, the re­search did not show any ad­di­tional ben­e­fits for peo­ple who ate more than 142mgs of di­etary ni­trate each day. The re­searchers also failed to find any sig­nif­i­cant as­so­ci­a­tions be­tween veg­etable ni­trates and late stage AMD, or be­tween non-veg­etable ni­trates and AMD risk.

“This is the first time the ef­fects of di­etary ni­trates on mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion risk has been mea­sured,” com­mented lead re­searcher As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Bamini Gopinath. “If our find­ings are con­firmed, in­cor­po­rat­ing a range of foods rich in di­etary ni­trates – like green leafy vegeta­bles and beet­root – could be a sim­ple strat­egy to re­duce the risk of early mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion.”

AMD is a de­gen­er­a­tive eye dis­ease which causes loss of cen­tral vi­sion, af­fect­ing ev­ery­day abil­i­ties such as see­ing faces, driv­ing, read­ing, and writ­ing. Age is the strong­est known risk fac­tor and the dis­ease is more likely to oc­cur af­ter the age of 50, with one in seven Aus­tralians over 50 show­ing some signs of mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion. There is cur­rently no known cure.

Re­search pub­lished ear­lier this month also found that fol­low­ing the pop­u­lar Mediter­ranean diet may also re­duce the risk of de­vel­op­ing AMD. Af­ter look­ing at nearly 5,000 par­tic­i­pants re­searchers at the Univer­sité de Bordeaux, France, and Eras­mus Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­tre, The Nether­lands, found that those who closely fol­lowed the Mediter­ranean diet were 41 per­cent less likely to de­velop AMD com­pared with those who did not fol­low the diet. Pre­vi­ous re­search has also sug­gested that the Mediter­ranean diet, which en­cour­ages a high in­take of fruit, vegeta­bles, fish, pulses, olive oil and whole grains, and a low in­take of meat, pro­cessed foods, and dairy prod­ucts, is ben­e­fi­cial for both those al­ready have AMD or are at risk of de­vel­op­ing it. – Re­laxnews

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