Regular consumption of grapes may have some astonishing effects on your eye health. Researchers say having a cup and a half of grapes every day can help improve macular degeneration in older adults.
Macular degeneration is a condition that results in blurred central vision, which is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults. It occurs when part of the retina, called the macula, that controls sharp, straight-ahead vision gets damaged with aging.
“Oxidative stress is a key risk factor for visual impairment, and consuming dietary antioxidant-rich foods may help in managing visual impairments,” the researchers wrote in their findings, published in the journal Food & Nutrition.
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and antioxidant defenses that are known to cause organ damage and several conditions, including age-related eyesight problems.
To understand the impact of antioxidant-rich food such as grapes on eye health in the aging population, researchers conducted a randomized, controlled human study.
By evaluating 34 participants for 16 weeks, the team estimated how regular consumption of grapes affected oxidative stress and high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) – the two main factors that are known to affect eyesight in older people.
The participants were given either freeze-dried table grape powder or a placebo during the trial. Those who took grape powder consumed the equivalent of 1.5 cups of grapes each day.
Researchers measured the macular pigment optical density (MPOD) of the participants every four weeks. A lower MPOD indicates a greater risk of macular degeneration. They also examined how the accumulation of AGEs (advanced glycation end products), which is known to cause oxidative stress in the retina, was affected by the consumption of grapes.
“The grape eaters showed a significant increase in 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 AGEs, as measured in the skin,” the researchers said in a news release.
“Our study is the first to show that grape consumption beneficially impacts eye health in humans which is very exciting, especially with a growing aging population,” study co-author Dr. Jung Eun Kim, from the National University of Singapore, said.”Grapes are an easy, accessible fruit that studies have shown can have a beneficial impact in normal amounts of just 1 ½ cups per day.”