February 29, 2012

Superfood prevents macular degeneration better than supplements

Macular degeneration is one of the worst eye diseases you can have. It’s the most common cause of blindness. And it’s terribly difficult to treat. So prevention is vital. The good news is one of my favorite foods can help you prevent this horrible disease.

Researchers in a new study compared the impact of a phytonutrient-rich diet on the vision in mice. But these weren’t just any mice. They were prone to develop retinal disease similar to human age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The researchers gave the mice either a grape-enriched diet, a lutein supplement, or a normal diet. The grapes proved to offer dramatic protection compared to the others. Grapes prevented oxidative damage of the retina and prevented blindness in the mice that ate the grapes. Lutein worked. But the grapes were far more effective.

The researchers were surprised at just how effective the grapes were. The lead author of the study said, “The protective effect of the grapes in this study was remarkable, offering a benefit for vision at old age, even if grapes were consumed only at young age.”

The grapes may prevent blindness by significantly decreasing the buildup of toxic waste products. This includes lipofuscin, which causes the age spots in your hands, and affects your eyes. The grapes also prevent the oxidative damage to damage-prone retinal pigment cells.

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I’ve been telling you for years that diet is your best bet to prevent degenerative disease. Supplements are secondary. Here’s more proof. Whole grapes trump the supplement lutein in preventing macular degeneration in mice.

This is great news. You can eat as many grapes as you want. They’re great for you and can give significant protection to your eyes. The supplement resveratrol can also help, as it has many of the phytonutrients of the grape. But again, it’s a supplement to a diet rich in grapes.



Ref: Free Radic Biol Med. 2012 Feb 1;52(3):660-70. Epub 2011 Dec 8.


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