A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin carried out a study which highlighted the benefits of green and yellow vegetables upon our vision. They found that the chemicals in these bright colored vegetables, namely the natural pigment in the plants, strengthen our vision and keep us from getting blind later in life.
The betacarotene pigment in yellow-orange vegetables was already known for its beneficial properties against eye diseases. But scientists found that the lutein and zeaxanthin compounds in leafy green vegetables, broccoli and other yellow vegetables such as squash and sweet corn are also extremely potent against eye vision damaging.
Besides improving eyesight, betacarotene also helps heart to function accurately, strengthens the immune system, prevents against cancer and is an anti-aging and anti-wrinkling agent for the skin.
Betacarotene is a photopigment usually related and connected to the vitamin A in plants. It is stock-piled in the epidermis, most precisely in the membranes of skin cells, and in the subcutaneous fatty tissue. Carotene can also be stored in the liver and, when the body needs it, converted into vitamin A.
Betacarotene is present in pumpkins, pears, carrots, saffron, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, pineapples, bananas, mango fruits etc.
The green pigment in plants and vegetables is given by lutein. This green pigment improves eyesight, the bone system and also the teeth, protects and prevents our organism from cancer. Moreover, the chlorophyll found extensively in green plants has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects and also purifies the blood from toxins and other waste.
Lutein is found all throughout our body, but it is very concentrated in the macula of the eyes. That is why it significantly inhibits the risk of developing macular degeneration of the eyes and is much recommended for individuals that have eye problems and also for the ones that make extensive use of their visual ability. For example, people that are over-exposed to sun rays or computer screens on a regular basis.
Lutein is found in green vegetables and fruits, such as: cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, endives, asparagus, spinach, nettles, kiwi fruits, green apples, beans, peas, parsley, pepper grass, green tea etc.
In order to investigate how the natural pigments in green and yellow plants enhance vision and protect against blindness, the University of Wisconsin researchers analyzed the diets of more than 1700 American women aged between 50 and 79. They also took blood tests of the women who volunteered for the study so that they detect levels of carotenoids (plant pigments) in the women's bodies.
Results proved that women under 75 who have been eating green and yellow vegetables on a regular basis for the past 15 years were less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration than those who did not lead such a healthy lifestyle. However, the beneficial effect of a vegetable-based diet did not occur in women aged between 75-79.
"This exploratory observation is consistent with a broad body of evidence from the observational and experimental studies that suggest that these carotenoids may protects against AMD," concluded lead researcher, Dr Suzen Moeller.