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Eat grapes for better eye care!

Sightsavers 13 June 2014 Eat Grapes for Better Eye Care

Grapes – whether red, green or black – are a delightful fruit to have. Not only are they sweet and refreshing, but they are also low on calories and high on water-content, making it the perfect fruit to munch on during your leisure time. As if these benefits weren’t enough to convince you to include grapes as an essential part of your diet, new research by the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami highlights that eating grapes can play a significant role in reducing eye health risks and ensuring proper eye care.

The research was presented at the recent conference of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) – the largest eye and vision research organization in the world with research members from over 70 countries – in Orlando. It suggested that regular grape consumption could play a role in protecting the retina from deterioration and assisting proper eye care. Retinal or macular degenerative disease is one of the leading causes of avoidable blindness.

The retina is the part of the eye that contains the cells that respond to light, also known as photoreceptors. Photoreceptors are of two types – rods and cones – and they enable us to see colours. Retinal degenerative diseases such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Stargardt disease, or Retinitis Pigmentosa can cause permanent damage to the light sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye that plays a major role in the vision process. This may result in damaged vision, night blindness, retinal detachment and tunnel vision. In extreme cases, these diseases may even result in blindness due to photoreceptor cell death.

Eating a grape-enriched diet has a protective effect on retinal structure and function. According to the research, eating more grapes brings down inflammatory protein levels and increases the number of protective proteins in the retina. It also helps counter oxidative stress, especially due to the high antioxidant content in grapes. Therefore, a grape-enriched diet can significantly enhance your eye care and reduce your risk of acquiring retinal degenerative diseases.

With such fantastic taste, being cheaply priced and a wide range of other health benefits, who could resist eating grapes now?

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