LIVING HEALTHY Published January15, 2016 By Czarelli Tuason

Eating Green Leafy Vegetables Could Prevent Glaucoma, Researches Say

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Green leafy vegetables on a plate
(Photo : By: Poppy Barach | Getty Images)

A new study conducted by researchers at the Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that eating green leafy vegetables could aid in lowering the risk of developing glaucoma and blindness later in life, reported Telegraph on Thursday.

According to the study, people who consume at least 240 milligrams of nitrate, which is commonly found in leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach and cabbage, had 30 percent less chances of developing glaucoma. That would mean that chomping on two cupfuls of these vegetables daily would give you your daily dose of glaucoma prevention.

People with glaucoma have an impaired optic nerve and these green leafy vegetables allegedly improve blood circulation in the said area.

In order to come up with the conclusion, researchers analyzed the diets and eye exam results of 105,000 participants who are over 40 years of age and are free from the most common form of glaucoma, the primary open-angle glaucoma, noted Medical Daily on Thursday.

The participants were divided into five groups based on the amount of green leafy vegetables they consume. Each one of them were also subjected to eye exams every two years, and 1,483 participants were eventually diagnosed with glaucoma.

"We found those consuming the most green leafy vegetables had a 20 to 30 percent lower risk of glaucoma," said lead researcher of the study Jae Kang, a professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. "In glaucoma, we think there is an impairment of blood flow to the optic nerve. An important factor that regulates blood flow to the eye is a substance called nitric oxide. When you consume the higher amount of green leafy vegetables, you have greater levels of nitric oxide in your body."

Based on the study, researchers are recommending an increase in consumption of these vegetables, especially for those who are at risk of developing the condition - those who are 60 years old and older, those who have a family history of glaucoma, and even African-Americans who are over the age of 40.

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