Eating Green Veggies Reduces Risk of Eye Disease

February 12th, 2016 by Dr. Spears

lettuce_smDiet and exercise make a big difference when it comes to the health of the retina, macula, and optic nerve. In this article published on the Science World Report website, researchers from Harvard University explore the link between eating nitrate-rich vegetables and staving off a form of glaucoma.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Nitrates and leafy green vegetables can help in lowering the risk of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), according to a recent study.

Researchers at the Harvard Medical School found that increasing dietary nitrate intake helped improve blood flow in the eyes and helped to decrease the risk for the condition.

“We found those consuming the most green leafy vegetables had a 20 to 30 percent lower risk of glaucoma,” said study leader Jae Kang. Kang is an assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

During the study, researchers followed up with 63,893 women in the Nurses Health Study, as well as 41,094 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who did not have POAG at two-year intervals during the course of the study.

Researchers identified at 1,483 cases of POAG during a follow-up period–during which participants were divided into five groups based on nitrate intake. Those who reported greater consumption of leafy green vegetables resulted in higher nitrate intake and were 20 to 30 percent less likely to develop POAG.
Participants with higher nitrate intake were also 40 to 50 percent less likely to develop a subtype of the condition that’s known as early paracentral visual field loss–caused by dysfunction of blood flow autoregulation.

“These findings could have important implications for POAG if the association of higher dietary nitrate and green leafy vegetable intake with a lower POAG risk is confirmed in observational or intervention studies,” researchers wrote, in a news release.

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