Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

About The Buzz: Eating Fruits & Veggies Is Good For Your Vision?

TheBUZZ Eating fruits & veggies is good for your vision?

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Antioxidants found in certain fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of developing certain chronic eye diseases.

WHAT WE KNOW

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables have a whole host of health benefits, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers. The key nutrients found in them are what aid our bodies in disease prevention. The antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables protect our cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. For example, zeaxanthin and lutein, two types of antioxidants found in green leafy vegetables and yellow/orange fruits and vegetables, help to protect and enhance our vision.

HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?

A new clinical study has found that zeaxanthin may improve visual performance. The participants in the study took an eye vitamin containing 8mg of zeaxanthin daily for one year. The improvements they experienced included: seeing more letters on an eye exam chart, improved vision while driving, and eliminating blind spots in a visual field.¹ The macular pigments zeaxanthin and lutein act as sunglasses within your eyes, protecting photoreceptors. When your eyes contain high levels of these pigments, you experience a multitude of benefits, including an increased visual process speed. This means that you are able to see objects more clearly and react more quickly to them.²

A separate study has been conducted looking at the impact of fruit and vegetable consumption on glaucoma. The odds of having glaucoma were decreased by consuming several vegetables, including two (2) servings of carrots per week (64% reduction), compared to fewer than one (1) serving per week. Peaches (canned or dried) and greens (collards or kale) consumed once per month versus less than once per month also significantly reduced risk by 47% and 69%, respectively.³

OUR ADVICE

It’s likely that at some point in your life someone has advised you to eat more carrots. “They will help your vision,” she or he might have said. Rather than focusing on eating more of a specific fruit or vegetable, eat a variety of them, especially leafy green vegetables like spinach, leafy lettuces, kale, collards and yellow or orange fruits and vegetables, like carrots, peaches, oranges, or tangerines. These fruits and vegetables are versatile and pair wonderfully with a myriad of other vegetables.

If these vegetables aren’t already a part of your dietary repertoire, try them in these recipes …

    • Spinach Soup w/Tomatoes
    • Southwestern Coleslaw
    • Kale w/Raisins

A few more tips on protecting your vision …

    • Wear protective gear such as sunglasses or goggles when outside or working with abrasive materials.
    • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, especially near high-glare areas such as water or snow.
    • Take care of your contacts or eye glasses.
    • Exercise. Improving your circulation and lowering your blood pressure will help you achieve optimal optical health.
    • Visit your optician for an eye exam.

If you are concerned about the state of your vision, contact your optician or physician immediately.

 

¹ Richer. “Result Filters.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2011. Web. 26 Sept. 2012. View Article

² “Lutein & Zeaxanthin.” American Optometric Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2012. View Article

³ Coleman A, Stone K, Kodjebacheva G, et al. Glaucoma risk and consumption of fruits and vegetables among older women in the study of osteoporotic fractures. Am J Opthamol. 2008;145:1081-1089.

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