Eye Health & the Power of Plants

The following information regarding eye health is a summary of works which are scientifically backed by sound peer reviewed studies and part of Professor T. Colin Campbell’s ‘China Study’ research.  The China Study Was The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted! (T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry Cornell University).

The foods we eat have a direct effect…

…on two common eye diseases, cataracts and macular degeneration… diseases which affect millions of older Americans.

Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of irreversible blindness among people over the age of sixty-five. It involves destruction of the macula, which is the biochemical intersection in the eye – where the energy of the light coming in is transformed into a nerve signal. The macula occupies center stage, so to speak, and it must be functional for sight to occur.

Around the macula there are fatty acids that can react with incoming light to produce a low level of highly reactive free radicals. These free radicals can destroy, or degenerate neighboring tissue including the macula.

Knights in Shining Armor 

THANKS TO ANTIOXIDANTS, which I routinely refer to as my Knights in Shining Armor — free radical damage can be repressed!! 

Researchers have discovered that a higher intake of total carotenoids has been associated with a lower frequency of macular degeneration. 

Carotenoids are a group of antioxidants found in the colored parts of fruits and veggies. Great veggies for eye health are broccoli, carrots, spinach or collard greens, winter squash and sweet potatoes.  Spinach or collard greens conferred the most protection.  

Here’s the great part…there was 88% less disease for people who ate these greens 5 or more times per week when compared with people who consumed these greens less than once per month.

In contrast, supplements of a few vitamins, including retinal (A), vitamin C and vitamin E showed little or no beneficial effects.  Again, we see that while supplements may give great wealth to supplement manufacturers, nothing is better than Mother Nature’s whole foods.

More carotenoids can be found in green leafy veggiescarrots and citrus fruits, and it is much safer to consume these carotenoids in their natural context, as highly colored fruits and vegetables.

In Summary:

My advice to you is this:  Make sure to get regular eye exams, and eat more green leafy vegetablescarrots and citrus fruits to help improve your eye health!

  1. Seddon JM, Ajani UA, Sperduto RD, et al. “Dietary carotenoids, vitamins A, C and E, and advanced age-related macular degeneration.” JAMA 272 (1994): 1413-1420
  2. Eye Disease Case-Control Study Group. “Antioxidant status and neovascular age-related macular degeneration.” Arch. Ophthalmol. 111(1993): 104-109
  3. The other food groups were broccoli, carrot, sweet potato, and winter squash, showing disease reductions of 53%, 28%, 33% and 44%, respectively. Each reduction was only approaching or was marginally statistically significant.
  4. Berman ER. Biochemistry of the eye. (Perspectives in vision research). New York, N.Y.: Plenum Publishing Corporation, 1991.
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