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Blog posts tagged with 'eye health'

Why This Popular Beverage May Also Support Good Health

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Why This Popular Beverage May Also Support Good HealthFor many people a cup of coffee is part of the morning routine with its warming aroma, taste and also, for a quick burst of energy to start the day. But many studies have shown that there's more to coffee than just caffeine. Unroasted green coffee beans contain plant compounds called chlorogenic acid that have been found to possess antioxidant health properties. Although the process of roasting tends to decrease chlorogenic acid levels, recent research has shown that the amount of chlorogenic acid present in coffee can still provide several health advantages.

The Eye Test of Antioxidants

In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists discovered that the chlorogenic acid found in coffee may help promote a stronger resistance to oxidative stress in the retina, preserving eye sight and protecting it from macular degeneration. The retina is said to be one of the most metabolically active tissues; it needs high levels of oxygen to function, which can make it more prone to oxidative stress. To test the protective effects of chlorogenic acid, a group of mice were treated with a substance which can generate oxidative stress and damaging free radicals. In the group of mice that were given chlorogenic acid pre-treatment, no retinal damage was found. "The study is important in understanding functional foods, that is, natural foods that provide beneficial health effects," said Chang Y. Lee, professor of food science and the study's senior author. "Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and we are attempting to understand what benefit we can get from that," Lee said.

The Green Side of Healthy Weight Management

While chlorogenic acid's retinal protection properties may be news, it is not the most well-known benefit that can come from coffee, or more specifically unroasted coffee beans. For some time, researchers have studied chlorogenic acid's positive effects in managing weight, metabolism, and blood sugar levels. At the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Joe Vinson, Ph.D., presented findings from his numerous studies highlighting the benefits of chlorogenic acid. In a weight management study, for example, Vinson gave green coffee bean extract to a group of overweight volunteers over a 22-week period. After 22 weeks the subjects lost 10% of their body weight. In a more recent study Vinson sought to further investigate the effects that different doses of chlorogenic acid had on 56 adults with normal blood sugar levels. All volunteers were subjected to blood glucose tolerance tests to see how their bodies normally reacted to the sugar. Following the blood sugar tests they were administered various doses (100, 200, 300, or 400 mg) of green coffee bean extract containing chlorogenic acid. Yet again, Vinson found that green coffee bean extract supplementation produced effective results. "There was a significant dose-response effect of the green coffee extract and no apparent gastrointestinal side effects," Vinson said. "All doses of green coffee bean extract produced a significant reduction in blood sugar relative to the original blank glucose challenge."

Perk Up Your Health with Green Coffee Beans

The antioxidant properties of CLA found in green coffee beans have been shown to help protect eye health, but the benefits don't stop there. It's also been clinically shown to promote weight management and balanced blood sugar. As more research and studies are conducted, other potential health benefits of green coffee beans may also be uncovered, so keep your eyes open for future developments.

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How Vision Changes with Age

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How Vision Changes with AgeJust because we grow up, it doesn’t mean that our bodies stop changing. One aspect of health that continues to change throughout adulthood is vision health. Over the years, it’s quite common for people to experience eyestrain from staring at computer monitors, TV screens, or reading small print for too long. The lens of the eye also becomes less flexible with age, which makes it more difficult for the eyes to focus on objects that are too close or, conversely, far away. Poor circulation, clouding of the lenses, and degeneration of the macula are also more common with aging, and can affect healthy vision.

If you’ve been starting to experience some of these changes, it’s nothing to fret about too much because they’re fairly normal. However, you still need to do all you can to support your vision throughout your lifetime.

Eye Protection Is a Must

One way to protect your eyes is to keep them physically covered when doing activities that may expose them to harm. Too much direct UV light from sunlight can damage the macula, the region of the eye that allows you to focus on fine details. So if you’re going to be outdoors on a sunny day, put on some UV-protecting sunglasses. It should also be a no-brainer to wear protective eyewear if you play high-impact sports, work with machinery, or are exposed to chemicals.

Feed Your Eyes Through Diet & Supplements

In addition to physically protecting your eyes, you should also support them at the nutritional level through a healthy diet and supplements. Antioxidant vitamins—such as vitamin A, C, and E—help protect the eyes from free radicals that can damage eye tissue. Brightly colored fruits and leafy vegetables also contain beta-carotene, which supports pigment cells in the macula. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil also promote vision health and other health areas, so you’ll be giving your overall health an added boost. If you don’t get enough fish or vegetables in your regular diet (like most Americans these days), get the vitamins and minerals you need through supplements that you can take with every meal. You’ll not only be eating a more nutritious diet, but you’ll also be giving your vision a healthy boost as well.

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Vitamin D3, the Sunshine Vitamin, May Benefit Healthy Vision, Too

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Vitamin D3, the Sunshine Vitamin, May Benefit Healthy Vision, TooThanks to ongoing research, the list of benefits to vitamin D3 supplementation just keeps getting longer. In addition to supporting calcium absorption for healthy bones, the immune system, and cellular health, scientists now believe that vitamin D3 may also support eye health.

Animal Studies on Vitamin D3 Show Great Promise

Initial studies conducted on mice have shown that vitamin D3 may help reduce the accumulation of amyloid beta in cone cells inside the retina. The central retina, especially the macula of the eye—which is a region containing yellow pigment cells that filter out harmful blue light—contains a large number of cone cells that are responsible for high-contrast vision. Amyloid beta deposits around the macula may affect blood circulation reaching the cone cells, therefore affecting vision. Mice contain fewer cone cells in their eyes than humans, but small amounts of vitamin D3 were shown to have a significantly large effect in reducing amyloid beta accumulation in their eyes. Given these promising results, researchers believe that the effects of vitamin D3 in human eye health may be far more beneficial.

The Importance of Visual Protection

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the reduction of macular pigment in the retina. It is the leading cause of visual health challenges in adults aged 60 and older. Dietary intake of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin help support macular health, and they are crucial because they are the only two carotenoids capable of filtering blue light rays that may damage the inner rods and cones of the eyes. Bright red and orange fruits and leafy vegetables contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. But poor eating habits may not get you enough of these important carotenoids from your foods, which is why you need to have a healthy balance of fruit and veggies in your meals. Now that you know vitamin D3 may also back up the protection of your macula, consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement, too. Although vitamin D is referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because your skin produces it when you’re out in the sun, it never hurts to have added protection—especially where your eyes are concerned.

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