Living for a long time is everyone's desire, but what matters is also to live in health, without age-related diseases such as those that can affect sight and brain. Hence, to keep diseases at bay as the years go by, a diet comes into play, which should include some types of fruits and vegetables, which have proved, more than others, useful in preserving health. So let's explore this very interesting topic on the basis of a recent scientific research published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience by an American team from the University of Georgia (Hammond et al, Nutritional Neuroscience, Jun 2022).
Antioxidants that protect eyesight and brain
Scientists performed an analysis on previous studies to try to understand if some nutrients could provide protection against certain age-related diseases, such as macular degeneration or dementia. What has emerged is that carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin, can protect vision and the brain. In particular, these antioxidants have been shown to reduce glare, the damage of solar rays at the level of the retina, filtering blue light, the most harmful component of light for the eye, as well as improving the vision of contrasts and the ability to see even in suboptimal conditions, such as when there is little light or haze. Not only that, carotenoids also improve the speed with which information is processed, support problem solving skills, memory and executive function. It is believed that this action is due to an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on the hippocampus and frontal cortex.
And where to find these valuable antioxidants? In all those fruits and vegetables that are characterized by bright colors. So, we are talking about, for example, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, watermelon, peppers, tomatoes, oranges and carrots.
Women need it most
The article also emphasizes that women are particularly interested in these results. In fact, while it is true that the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin benefit everyone, it has been observed that women can benefit more from them. In fact, women have more adipose tissue than men on average. This adipose tissue acts as a reservoir for vitamins and mineral salts, which are then useful in pregnancy. However, this determines that some regions of the body, such as the eyes and brain, are reached by a lower number of nutrients. In fact, it is observed that women, while having a longer life expectancy than men, are more affected by degenerative diseases concerning the eyes and brain. This is why women have a greater need to include foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin in their diet.