Eat your greens. Green leafy vegetables specifically may reduce your risk of glaucoma – a serious eye disease – by 20 to 30 per cent, according to a new study.
The study followed more than 100,000 men and women for close to 30 years.
Study participants who consumed the most green leafy vegetables were less likely to develop glaucoma, which is a primary cause of vision loss and blindness. Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham, and Women’s Hospital in Boston say these vegetables contain high amounts of dietary nitrate which helps blood circulation. In glaucoma scientists believe there is an impairment of blood flow to the optic nerve.
Some of the vegetables in the study included various lettuces, like Romaine, as well as kale, mustard or chard greens, as well as cooked and raw spinach. Also included were broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. The benefits were derived mainly from green leafy vegetables, researchers report.
“These results, if confirmed in observational and intervention studies, could have important public health implications,” the authors write. The results were published in JAMA Ophthalmology.
To achieve the benefit people would need to eat close to two cupfuls of lettuce each day.
According to the Glaucoma Research Society of Canada, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in older North Americans and more than 400,000 Canadians have glaucoma.
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