4. Spinach may help prevent diseases of the eye
Spinach for age-related macular degeneration
Research has found that spinach consumption could help protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration, a major cause of vision loss for individuals older than 50.
Spinach is abundant in 2 chemicals known as lutein and zeaxanthin, which together forms an oily, yellow substance known as macular pigment at a central point of the retina called the macula.
One study examined the eyes of 11 healthy individuals who ate 75 grams of spinach that contained 10 mg of lutein every day for 2 months. Lutein-rich spinach consumption increased lutein levels in the blood, as well as increased macular pigment optical density.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
Macular pigment helps protect the eyes, and low or reduced macular pigment optical density is a risk factor for age-related macular degeneration.
Spinach for cataracts
Another study has found a high dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin is associated with a reduced prevalence of cataracts.2✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
The researchers recruited 3271 participants aged 40 years and older of which 2322 attended a follow-up examination which included a questionnaire regarding the frequency of different kinds of food consumption, a lifestyle questionnaire, and lens photography.
Although no association was found between daily lutein and zeaxanthin intake and either PSC or cortical cataracts, an inverse association was found between higher dietary lutein and zeaxanthin intake and nuclear cataract.
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