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17 September 2014
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Spinach and Eyesight


Can spinach save your eyesight?

We’ve all heard that carrots help you see in the dark. But can spinach help prevent sight loss?

In the UK, over 25% of the over 60s have some degree of visual loss because of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

AMD occurs in the centre part of the retina called the macula. It can cause blindness in the centre of the eye, with peripheral vision only remaining.

Part of the retina’s protection is a pigment, lutein, which absorbs UV blue light, the most damaging wavelength of sunlight. Lutein is also thought to be an antioxidant which helps maintain the health of the eye. The pigment itself can only come from diet, and one very good source for this is spinach.

"over 25% of the over 60s have visual loss"

We gave a group of people who have early signs of the disease a six month spinach rich diet - half a bag of fresh spinach a day. We examined their eyesight at the start and end of the diet to see if the spinach helped slow or even repair the damage that old age had wrought on their eyes.

One participant, Joan, who has noticed a decline in her eyesight over the last few years, attacked the spinach diet with fervour and tests show that not only has her condition not degenerated at all over the last three months but that she has even shown some improvement in eye sensitivity.

Watch the films in our interactive player and take a look at some Takeaway Tips on how to stay young and beautiful.

Suggested recipes from BBC Food

Spinach soup

Buttered spinach

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