It’s not just carrots — Eating grapes improves eye health as well

SINGAPORE — Move over carrots, grapes may also benefit your eyes as well, according to new research.

Researchers, supported by the California Table Grape Commission, say eating just a few handfuls of grapes daily for four months appears to enhance significant indicators of eye health. The reason? Eye degeneration is attributed to oxidative stress, and grapes are rich in antioxidants.

Researchers from the National University of Singapore conducted a study involving 34 adults. Participants were divided into two groups: one consuming one and a half cups of grapes daily, while the other ate a placebo over a span of 16 weeks.

The group that consumed grapes exhibited a notable increase in macular pigment optical density (MPOD), plasma antioxidant capacity, and total phenolic content, compared to the placebo group. Conversely, those who did not consume grapes witnessed a significant rise in damaging ocular advanced glycation end products (AGE) in their skin.

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Researchers say consuming grapes for 16 weeks improved key markers of eye health in older adults. (credit: Photo by David Travis on Unsplash)

The study highlights that oxidative stress and elevated levels of AGE are primary risk factors for eye diseases. AGEs, in particular, can harm the retina’s vascular components, compromise cellular functions, and amplify oxidative stress.

Being a natural reservoir of antioxidants and polyphenols, grapes can curtail oxidative stress and obstruct the formation of AGEs. This could lead to potential benefits on the retina, such as an uplift in MPOD.

“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. Grapes are an easy, accessible fruit that studies have shown can have a beneficial impact in normal amounts of just 1 ½ cups per day,” says Dr. Jung Eun Kim, the study’s co-author, in a media release.

The research is published in the journal Food & Function.

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South West News Service writer Jim Leffman contributed to this report.

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