The importance of greens
Eating our greens on a daily basis is so important for many reasons. They are known to lower our risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's, heart disease, they reduce our risk of certain types of cancer, digestive issues, bone loss, kidney stones, and more!
A large study that was just released and based on long term data for more than 100,000 US adults showed that those who consumed the most nitrate (mostly from veggies like kale and spinach) were 21% less likely than those who ate the least amount of nitrate to develop open-angle glaucoma by the time they were in the 60s or 70s.
The researchers used data on more than 63,000 women that they followed from 1984 to 2012 in the Nurses’ Health Study, and more than 41,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study from 1986 to 2012.
The study team at JAMA Ophthalmology points out that impaired blood flow is implicated in this condition and says that nitrates can be converted to nitric oxide in the body which improves blood flow.
“Nitric oxide signaling is important for maintaining optimal blood flow, and some evidence suggests that it may also be important for keeping eye pressure low,” said lead author Jae H. Kang of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
In the study, people who consumed more nitrate also had higher consumption of other nutrients, they also exercised more, smoked less and were more slim, but the authors adjusted for these factors when calculating the risk differences linked to nitrate and greens.
People who ate the most leafy greens were 18 percent less likely than those who consumed the least greens to develop any form of open-angle glaucoma, and 48 percent less likely to develop the so-called paracentral form of the disease, which is particularly associated with blood flow, the authors note.
So get your kale on, and add glaucoma prevention to the long list of benefits provided by our friends, the leafy greens!