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Sight For Sore Eyes…Study Reveals Certain Food Compounds Improves Eye Health

Eyes I recently read about an exciting finding that has my hopes up for my elder years! Although science hasn’t found a way to turn back time (yet), this latest scientific discovery in the world of natural health tells how certain compounds found in various vegetables can help prevent macular degeneration—a common eye problem that tends to arise as people age.

Published in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology, the study says that the compounds lutein and zeaxanthin may prove as preventable antidotes to age-related macular degeneration (ARMD)!

Researchers studied the dietary habits of 4,500+ participants between the ages of 60 and 80 over a six year period. They did this to see what, if any, correlation there was between their diets and the onset of ARMD. Stunningly, the researchers found that the seniors who consumed the highest amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin had a 35 percent lower progression rate of age-related macular degeneration than those who consumed the smallest amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. The researchers also examined the effects of beta-carotene and vitamins C and E on ARMD, but no dice; only lutein and zeaxanthin correlated to the rate of age-related macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration occurs when the center of the eyeball—called the macula—thins and atrophies, usually due to the wear and tear that accompanies the aging process. When this happens, a loss of vision results. Common symptoms include being unable to see fine details, blurry vision and an inability to discern between different colors. According to the American Academy of Opthamology, ARMD is the leading cause of vision loss for those over the age of 50, and its prevalence only increases with age (35 percent increased risk between the ages of 75 to 85).

The aforementioned preventive compounds to ARMD—zeaxanthin and lutein—are carotenoids, which, among other things, give fruits and vegetables their color. And guess what? They’re found in the very same foods you refused to eat when you were young, despite your mom’s insistence—like brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach and zucchini.

If you still refuse to eat these vegetables, there are a number of other sources to go to. These include, corn, collard greens, romaine lettuce, eggs, peas, squash, kale and turnip greens. They’re also found in a number of fruits, such as grapes, kiwis, and oranges. But if you’re looking for the food source with the highest amount of lutein, corn is the winner (60 percent of total carotenoids found is lutein).

Currently, over a million people in the country suffer from age-related macular degeneration. Perhaps by eating more of these fruits and vegetables it will help bring that number down.

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