Grapes are as good as carrots for ensuring healthier older eyes

Macular degeneration is a common problem on my mother’s side of the family. Consequently, I’m a bit worried about my eyesight as I get older.

My grandmother, who lived to 98, required a special machine to read anything in her final years. My mother, who just died at 89, had lots of problems with her eyesight as she got older, but still managed to pass the vision tests to renew her drivers license.

As someone who writes for a living, when my eye doctor recommended that I take AREDS2 multivitamins, I jumped on the advice.

A new study out of Singapore discovered that people who eat a cup and a half of grapes daily for four months improved key markers in the health of their eyes.

The study evaluated 34 adults who either ate grapes or consumed placebos. What does a placebo grape look like? Researchers actually used freeze-dried table grape powder or the same amount of a placebo powder.

The grape eaters showed a significant increase in macular pigment optical density (MPOD), plasma antioxidant capacity, and total phenolic content compared to those on placebo. Furthermore, people who did not consume grapes saw a significant increase in harmful ocular advanced glycation end products (AGE). High levels of those is a key risk factor for eye disease.

The bottom line is that eating grapes helped protect vision health.

Earlier studies in mice showed that consuming grapes worked to protect retinal structure and function, according to Good News Network.

“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 1.5 cups per day. Regular intake of grapes may improve eye health in older adults.”

Not only are the easily accessible, at about $2 per pound, grapes are generally very affordable. Here in Arizona, frozen grapes make a delightful year-round treat.