Eating a ‘handful’ of this fruit daily could protect eyesight, new study finds

Eye health: Nutritionist reveals foods that protect your eyes

Many people experience a deterioration in their eyesight as they get older.

While this may be, in part, beyond our control due to genetics and the impact of ageing, we are also able to influence our eye health through diet.

Research over the years has vouched for the vision-enhancing properties of carrots, spinach and oranges, for example.

And nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin are known to aid eyesight.

Now a new study has found another fruit that is worth adding to your diet for this very reason.

READ MORE GP recommends best foods to reduce your risk of vision loss

A team from the National University of Singapore found that consuming just a couple of handfuls of grapes a day for four months was shown to improve key markers of eye health.

Grapes are high in antioxidants, which can tackle degeneration of the eyes caused by oxidative stress.

As part of the research, which was published in Food and Function journal, 34 adults were split into two groups.

One ate a cup and a half of grapes daily, while the other group ate a placebo for 16 weeks.

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Those who ate the grapes showed a significant increase in macular pigment optical density (MPOD), plasma antioxidant capacity, and total phenolic content compared to those on placebo.

Those who didn’t consume grapes saw a significant increase in harmful ocular advanced glycation end products (AGE) as measured in the skin.

The team said the key risk factors for eye disease include oxidative stress and high levels of AGE.

Researchers found AGEs may contribute to many eye diseases by damaging the vascular components of the retina, impairing cellular function, and causing oxidative stress.

Grapes, which are a natural source of antioxidants and other polyphenols, can decrease oxidative stress and inhibit the formation of AGEs, with possible beneficial effects on the retina, such as an improvement in MPOD.

Study co-author Doctor Jung Eun Kim said: “Our study is the first to show that grape consumption beneficially impacts eye health in humans which is very exciting, especially with a growing ageing population.

“Grapes are an easy, accessible fruit that studies have shown can have a beneficial impact in normal amounts of just one and a half cups per day.

“Regular intake of grapes may improve eye health in older adults, specifically in augmenting MPOD, which can be explained by an increase in plasma total antioxidant capacity and phenolic content, and the downregulation of AGEs.”

The American Academy of Ophthalmology lists the following foods as beneficial for eyesight:

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Apricots
  • Citrus fruits such as tangerines, grapefruit, lemons
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Almonds
  • Avocadoes
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Oily fish
  • Leafy greens
  • Black-eyed beans, kidney beans.

Some foods are also known to damage your eye health.

Freedom Vision warns against eating lots of fatty meats and foods high in saturated fat.

If you experience problems with your eyes you should speak to your GP or an optician.

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