Emily Baines
January 18, 2016 7:43 am

Well, now we have another reason to eat vegetables other than the Cookie Monster’s change of heart: They may prevent blindness!

A new study conducted by researchers from Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that a diet high in green leafy vegetables may lower the risk of the most common type of glaucoma which can gradually lead to loss of vision. Wow. Okay. Time to go buy some more spinach. Anyone have any smoothie recipes they’re willing to share?

Researchers found greater intake of vegetables high in dietary nitrate such as kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and beets is associated with a 20 to 30 per cent lower risk of primary open-angle glaucoma, often referred to as POAG. POAG manifests as a gradual loss of sight, beginning with a loss of peripheral vision, but eventually a person’s entire vision could be lost! Guys, that sounds terrifying. Those surveyed who ate a diet high in dietary nitrate also had “between 40 and 50 percent reduced risk of developing a sub-type of the condition known as early paracentral visual field (VF) loss, which is linked to dysfunction in blood flow autoregulation.”

Yikes. That’s a lot of scary sounding words with one easy point: Eat your vegetables. Researchers suspect that intake of leafy vegetables improve blood circulation to the optic nerve which is impaired in people with glaucoma. Somewhere, Popeye is shaking his head and saying, “I told you so.”

“These results, if confirmed in observational and intervention studies, could have important public health implications,” said lead author Dr. Jae Kang. No doubt. I’m imagining mass panic like the run on the bank scene in Mary Poppins, only health food stores will be inundated.

So let’s take our cue from Beyonce and eat more kale. Or we can do what I did when I was a child and eat broccoli by pretending I was a giant and the broccoli were tiny trees? Whatever it takes, man.

(Image via PBS)

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