For years, parents all over the world have been hammering it into our heads to eat all of our carrots if we want perfect vision. They weren’t completely wrong. Carrots are a superfood when it comes to maintaining healthy vision. But is there a food that may be even better than carrots?
The answer is, maybe! Broccoli, though it has always been known to help enhance vision, may be an even better food than carrots according to a new study published in Scientific Reports. Broccoli has been shown to naturally fight different types of cancers and vision loss, namely age-related macular degeneration.
We sometimes become so concerned with one food being able to keep our vision healthy that we completely forget that there are hundreds of types of fruit and vegetables out there for our vision. Broccoli has quickly skyrocketed to the top of our list and almost knocks carrots off their pedestal.
Broccoli to Fight AMD
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the most common vision conditions. This disease affects the macula of the eye, which is a tiny spot near the center of the retina.
The macula is what gives us that sharp central vision. However, as we age the macula begins to degenerate. AMD is a progressive disease for most people. Vision loss will be gradual, but it is possible that severe vision loss happens suddenly, which means that the macula has degenerated at a faster rate than normal.
AMD isn’t always due to age. People that smoke or those with a family history of AMD are more likely to develop AMD at a younger age and have the degeneration will happen more quickly. For those who smoke and have a family history of AMD, you should seriously consider quitting.
There are different stages of AMD, however not everyone with AMD will go through these stages. The early stage of AMD will not cause any vision loss. Often the symptoms will include difficulty adjusting when going from bright light to low light. This can only be detected during an eye exam.
Intermediate AMD, like early AMD is detectable during an eye exam, however some people may experience some vision loss. Most people don’t have any symptoms aside from having difficulty adjusting to different lighting.
Late AMD is the last stage of AMD, where significant vision is lost due to the deterioration of the macula. Not everyone who has AMD will reach this stage. There are many treatments available to slow the progress of AMD so that it never reaches this stage, however there is no cure.
The best way to know if you have AMD is to get your eyes checked. The earlier this disease is caught, the earlier treatments can begin. There are many treatments available to slow the progression of early and intermediate AMD.
Now here is where broccoli comes in. Broccoli may be one of the ways you can slow down the progress of AMD if you already have it.
The Science Behind Broccoli and AMD
This isn’t an opinion piece about broccoli being the best food for AMD. We’re just pointing out the science behind it. Every compound and element that makes broccoli what it is has been shown to fight AMD along with other vision conditions.
Essentially broccoli acts as a detox for your eyes. There is a compound in broccoli called I3C that helps the body naturally produce a protein called AhR. This protein is crucial in the eye’s chemical detoxification process. Without it, chemicals would remain in the eye and cause lots of damage.
Unfortunately, as we age our body’s production of AhR reduces significantly. One of the main causes of AMD is a build-up of chemicals and environmental toxins. The I3C in broccoli coupled with the AhR could prevent AMD or at the very least slow the progress.
Though broccoli can help your eyes, it is far from being a cure for AMD. To effectively treat AMD with broccoli would mean eating 10 times your daily recommended amount of broccoli!
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What This Means for Future Studies
One great thing to come out of this study is that we now know that the right amounts of I3C can indeed prevent AMD. What’s left to figure out is how to apply it to a cure for AMD.
Simply eating broccoli or ingesting I3C tablets is not enough. Further studies need to be done to effectively treat AMD, but this new discovery could potentially bring us one step closer towards finding this long awaited cure.
What this also means is that there might be other compounds hidden in our food that may be able to prevent other age-related vision conditions. The new study has opened a whole bunch of new doors for potentially treating age-related vision diseases. All that needs to be done is a little research.
Well, maybe more than just a little.
Most people over the age of 40 suffer from some sort of age-related disease including AMD, presbyopia, cataracts, glaucoma, etc. There are no known cures from any of these diseases; only treatments that can help those afflicted live with the conditions. Hopefully a cure is on the rise for age-related diseases.
So is broccoli truly the new carrot? Maybe, depending on what you’re trying to treat. Both vegetables have their benefits: carrots for sharp vision and broccoli to fight and prevent AMD. Could you imagine the results of them working together? You’d have super-eyes.
Truly, there is no “better” food. Any food that is good for the eyes, is good for the eyes. Plain and simple. So keep eating those foods, get your proper vitamins and nutrients and your eyes will be in better shape than ever.