100-Year-Old Cartoon Advice Promotes Healthy Vision

100-Year-Old Cartoon Advice Promotes Healthy Vision

When I was growing up, there was one vegetable we’d eat without fail: Spinach. Popeye the Sailor ate spinach to supercharge his muscles. And we all wanted to be super-strong like him. So generations of little boys ate spinach in hopes of getting big muscles like Popeye’s.

We didn’t grow giant biceps from eating spinach. But what we didn’t know back then was this cartoon advice actually promotes healthy vision! And it’s borne out by a large new study.

The study compared the diets of almost 105,000 people and their risk of damaging elevated eye pressure and optic nerve damage. This is a common cause of vision problems. But the doctors found it’s a lot less common in people who ate lots of green, leafy vegetables.1

The secret appears to be nitrates. People in the study were up to 30% less likely to suffer this common form of vision damage. The study also found people who ate the lowest levels of nitrate foods were up to twice as likely to suffer central vision loss.

This Harvard- Brigham & Women’s Hospital study isn’t the first to find a link between nitrates and vision. At least as far back as 1980, doctors noticed people taking nitroglycerin for heart problems were less likely to have abnormally high pressure in their eyes.2

Your body can convert nitrates into nitric oxide (NO). NO eases blood pressure by relaxing blood vessel walls. NO has a similar effect elsewhere in your body. For example, NO can ease bladder pressure and reduce frequent urges to go.

So it’s not much of a stretch to imagine it may help ease other pressures. And since NO promotes good circulation, it supports overall eye health in another way, too.

And that’s where spinach comes in. Because it’s loaded with natural nitrates. So are celery, beets, and many lettuces. But spinach carries a bonus.

You see, spinach is a rich source of two vitamin A “cousins” that are key to healthy vision.

Lutein and zeaxanthin make up a protective barrier called “macular pigment.” This pigment filters damaging UV rays that enter your eyes, protecting the light-sensitive cells that line the back of your eyes.

University studies show getting more of these two nutrients helps build up your macular pigment… and thus increases your defenses against UV damage in the eye.3

That makes spinach an ideal food for promoting eye health. It’s also a great source of vitamin A, which promotes sharp night vision… and acts as an important antioxidant in your eyes.

And, yes, spinach actually does make you stronger, too. Not as much as in the cartoons. But Swedish researchers discovered the nitrates in spinach trigger production of two proteins that help build muscle strength.

So that wise-cracking sailor we loved as kids was right after all.

Yours in continued good health,

Best Life Herbals Wellness Team

1 “Higher dietary nitrate and green leafy vegetable intake associated with lower risk of glaucoma,” Eurekalert.org. Jan 14, 2016.

2 Wizemann, A.J. and Wizemann, V., “Organic nitrate therapy in glaucoma,” Am J Ophthalmol. Jul 1980; 90(1): 106-109.

3 Bone, R.A., “Lutein and zeaxanthin dietary supplements raise macular pigment density and serum concentrations of these carotenoids in humans,” J Nutr. Apr 2003; 133(4): 992-998.

4 “Solved at last – why spinach makes us strong,” Karolinska Institutet Innovations AB, Jun 25, 2012.

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