leafy greens

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Eating leafy greens may reduce glaucoma risk: study

February 3, 2016

Boston – Keep eating those green, leafy vegetables. You might be reducing your risk of developing glaucoma later in life.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 100,000 men and women 40 and older to determine the link between dietary nitrate intake – contained mostly in leafy greens such as spinach, kale and chard – and open-angle glaucoma.

People who ate the greatest amount of green, leafy vegetables were 18 percent less likely to develop glaucoma than those with the lowest levels of dietary nitrate intake, researchers said. In addition, people who ate the greatest amount of leafy greens were 48 percent less likely to develop loss of paracentral vision, which can be more debilitating than peripheral vision loss.

Nitrates from spinach, kale, chard, mustard greens and other common foods such as iceberg lettuce and romaine lettuce may be converted into nitric oxide within one’s body. Nitric oxide improves blood flow. Experts say poor blood flow can be a contributing factor to the development of glaucoma.

The study was published online Jan. 14 in JAMA Ophthalmology.