Eat­ing leafy greens could pro­tect your eye­sight

South Shore Breaker - - Health& Wellness - DR. COLIN MACLEOD, ND HEALTH, NAT­U­RALLY info@dr­col­in­

Vi­sion loss be­yond age 60 is most com­monly caused by a con­di­tion called mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion. This disease is one which pro­gresses grad­u­ally and the symp­tom of vi­sion loss may not be seen un­til a per­son is in their 60s, 70s or older. There is no cure for the vi­sion loss caused by mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion, but as re­cent re­search has dis­cov­ered, life­style fac­tors could play a big role in pre­vent­ing it.

You may have read my col­umn in July show­ing that peo­ple who eat an orange per day are less likely to develop mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion later in life. This ar­ti­cle was based on a study pub­lished by re­searchers from the Univer­sity of Syd­ney in Aus­tralia.

Th­ese same re­searchers have pub­lished an­other anal­y­sis of their data, which now looks at the po­ten­tial link be­tween eat­ing leafy greens and a per­son’s risk of de­vel­op­ing mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion. This study re­an­a­lyzed data from 2,000 Aus­tralian adults aged 50 and older and ex­am­ined their rate of de­vel­op­ing mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion over a 15-year pe­riod.

The results of the study showed that peo­ple who ate 100 to 142 mil­ligrams of veg­etable ni­trates per day had a 35 per cent lower risk of de­vel­op­ing early stages of age-re­lated mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion, com­pared with peo­ple who ate less than 69 mil­ligrams per day of veg­etable ni­trates.

“This is the first time the ef­fects of di­etary ni­trates on mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion risk has been mea­sured. Es­sen­tially we found that peo­ple who ate 100 to 142 mgs of veg­etable ni­trates ev­ery day had a re­duced risk of de­vel­op­ing early signs of mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion com­pared with peo­ple who ate fewer ni­trates,” said lead re­searcher Bamini Gopinath from the Univer­sity of Syd­ney.

“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,” added Gopinath.

Veg­eta­bles that are rich in ni­trates in­clude cel­ery, cress, chervil, let­tuce, red beet­root and spinach, to name a few. Ad­di­tion­ally, un­cooked veg­eta­bles are higher in ni­trate con­tent.

While there is cur­rently no cure for mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion, the role of life­style fac­tors in its preven­tion is be­com­ing clearer over time. As men­tioned ear­lier, re­search from this same group of sci­en­tists pub­lished in July showed that peo­ple who eat an orange per day are sig­nif­i­cantly less likely to develop mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion. The early ev­i­dence is point­ing to di­etary choices hav­ing a very real role in the preven­tion of mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion and, in gen­eral, a higher in­take of fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles re­duc­ing this risk.

Do you have ques­tions about nat­u­ral meth­ods of pre­vent­ing mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion? Ask your natur­o­pathic doc­tor.


Eat­ing a healthy diet of leafy greens could help pre­vent mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion.

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