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Eat Leafy Greens to Prevent Glaucoma?

According to a report in HealthDay Reporter, eating one healthy food group may lessen the chances of developing glaucoma.

A study led by a Harvard Medical School researcher found that a diet rich in leafy green vegetables seemed to lower the risk of developing the debilitating eye condition. From 1984 through 2014, over 100,000 men and women without glaucoma had their eyes checked every two years; at the end of the study, nearly 1,500 participants developed glaucoma. Researchers then examined the diet of participants to see if there were any patterns to food intake and rates of glaucoma.

They found that participants who ate the most leafy greens on a regular basis (approximately 1½ cups a day), had a 20% to 30% lower chance of developing glaucoma than other study participants. Experts say that may be because leafy greens contain nitrates that turn into nitric oxide. It’s believed that nitric oxide production is impaired within the eye with glaucoma, so the extra nitric oxide taken in by those who ate a lot of leafy greens may have made up for the nitric oxide lost.

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, “People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma as are non-diabetics.” Glaucoma occurs because of an increased fluidic pressure on the optic nerve in your eyes. The pressure on the nerve can damage it and lead to vision loss.

Researchers involved in the study suggest asking your doctor before making any major dietary shift, including eating a lot more green leafy vegetables. All foods can cause problems for the body if eaten in excess, and leafy greens can cause thyroid and kidney stone problems for some individuals.

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Emma Dunn is a Writing, Literature, and Publishing student at Emerson College in Boston. Besides writing for Type2Nation and Insulin Nation, she also writes for the online publication, The Odyssey.

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