How grapes can improve your vision: New research unveils the connection

Singapore-based researchers say regular consumption of grapes may also be beneficial for eye health, particularly in older people.

Grapes may just be the next big superfood. As well as being tasty, grapes can also be beneficial to the health and beauty of our skin. What more could you ask for?

Already prized for their ability to combat excess sebum and skin aging, and even to prevent certain cardiovascular diseases, researchers are now reporting on grapes’ benefits for eye health.

This is the first human study on this subject, supporting earlier research findings on the positive impact of grape consumption on retinal structure and function.

“Science has shown that an aging population has a higher risk of eye disease and vision problems,” reads a news release accompanying the study. Oxidative stress and the high levels of ocular advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which can result from diet or aging, for example, are among the main risk factors for eye disease.”

Based on the observation that certain dietary antioxidants can not only reduce oxidative stress, but also inhibit AGE production, researchers at the National University of Singapore tested the potential impact of antioxidant-rich grape consumption on eye health.

Preserving eye health

Thirty-four older people (age unspecified) from Singapore were involved in this 16-week randomised controlled trial.

Participants consumed either freeze-dried table grape powder the equivalent of one and a half cups of grapes per day or the same amount of placebo for the duration of the study, with monitoring every four or eight weeks of certain parameters such as macular pigment optical density (MPOD), AGE status and plasma lutein concentration.

Published in the scientific journal Food & Function, the research suggests that grape consumption is associated with “a significant increase” in macular pigment optical density, which helps protect against certain eye diseases, as well as in plasma antioxidant capacity.

In contrast, the placebo group showed a “significant increase” in harmful AGEs. Consumed regularly for just 16 weeks, grapes proved beneficial in improving key markers of eye health in older subjects.

“Our study is the first to show that grape consumption beneficially impacts eye health in humans which is very exciting, especially with a growing aging population,” said study co-author, Dr. Jung Eun Kim. “Grapes are an easy, accessible fruit that studies have shown can have a beneficial impact in normal amounts of just one and a half cups per day.”

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