As the holidays approach, it may be wise to substitute apple pie for a new fruit. According to a recent study in Food & Function, eating grapes may improve eye health in older adults and reduce the risk of vision problems.
What Contributes to Eye Disease?
Older age is one of the most common risk factors for eye diseases. Other risk factors include the following:
- Oxidative stress — This is a bodily condition that happens when your antioxidant levels are low.
- High levels of ocular advanced glycation end products (AGEs) — These substances can damage the retina and impair cell function. Foods that contain the highest levels of AGEs include meat (especially red meat), fried eggs, certain cheeses, cream cheese, butter and margarine, mayonnaise, oils and nuts.
Antioxidants in Grapes
Eating foods that are high in antioxidants can prevent AGEs from forming and decrease oxidative stress. Antioxidants remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents and protect cells from premature aging. Grapes have high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols, which can improve macular pigment optical density (MPOD).
A new study analyzed 34 people who ate either 1.5 cups of grapes per day or a placebo for 16 weeks. The subjects who ate grapes showed higher levels of MPOD, polyphenols and plasma antioxidant capacity. Participants who did not eat grapes had higher levels of harmful AGEs.
Eat a Diet High in Antioxidants during the Holidays
Antioxidants and polyphenols don’t just preserve your vision. They protect the body against oxidative stress and associated health problems like cancers, heart disease and inflammation. This holiday season, be mindful of what you are putting in your body. With some research and careful planning, you can prepare a savory, healthy meal as well as toothsome sweet treats.
By making small substitutions, you can turn up the flavor and the nutritional profile of your traditional holiday meal. Instead of using butter, sour cream and cream cheese in your vegetable dishes, try using a high-quality extra virgin olive oil and herbs. A fresh fruit salad can be just as sweet as a slice of cake or pie without the sugar crash.
Eye Exams for Optimum Eye Health
When was the last time you scheduled a comprehensive eye exam? A full eye exam with dilation takes only an hour, but it provides a year of benefits. Your ophthalmologist will evaluate your eye prescription and test your visual acuity as well as screen you for cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
If you are looking for a new ophthalmologist, we can help. Our eye care centers are accepting new patients and are ready to meet your vison needs. Call today to make an appointment with one of our board-certified physicians.