Consuming grapes is healthy for the eyes, at least for older people. It is enough to consume grapes for a period of just 16 weeks to benefit from their benefits for eye health and to significantly reduce an important risk factor for eye diseases.
A new study involving experts from the National University of Singapore (NUS) examined the effects of regular grape consumption on so-called macular pigment accumulation in older people. The results are published in the trade journal “Food & Function”.
Increased risk of eye diseases in old age
It is known that older people are at increased risk of eye diseases and vision problems. The researchers explain that the risk factors responsible for this are oxidative stress and high concentrations of so-called advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in the eye.
These advanced glycation end products damage the vascular components of the retina, impair cell functions and cause additional oxidative stress, which contributes to many eye diseases, the experts continued.
Grapes source of healthy antioxidants
However, dietary antioxidants can reduce oxidative stress and prevent the formation of advanced glycation end products. Grapes are a good natural source of antioxidants and various other polyphenols.
To find out whether grapes are able to improve eye health and protect against eye diseases due to the antioxidants they contain, the team conducted a study with a total of 34 participants.
These were randomly divided into two groups, with one group consuming a freeze-dried grape powder (46 grams) daily and the second group only consuming a placebo powder.
What was the effect of consuming grapes?
According to the researchers, participants who consumed grapes not only showed a significant increase in the optical density of the macular pigment, but also a significant increase in antioxidant plasma capacity and total phenolic content, compared to the control group.
However, the experts found a significant increase in harmful advanced glycation end products in participants who did not consume grapes.
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Grapes improve eye health
“Our study is the first to show that grape consumption has a positive effect on eye health in humans, which is very exciting, especially as the population ages,” reports study author Dr. Jung Eun Kim in a press release.
The current study is in line with previous, preliminary studies that found that eating grapes protects retinal structure and function. (as)