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Feeling a bit green

Much research this month has focused on everyday foods that can positively affect your vision. But can you have too much of a good thing?

10 Nov 2016 by Emily McCormick

Many people start their day with a caffeine hit before breakfast, and perhaps even reach for the coffee pot again when they get to the office. If, like me, you fall into this group, you may be pleased to hear that not one, but two studies have waxed lyrical about the benefits of the coffee bean to vision-related conditions in the last few weeks.

First, coffee lovers could rejoice when Portuguese researchers found that a daily dose of caffeine – combined with a diet rich in fruit, veg, fish and wholegrains, of course – could be key to reducing their risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by a third.

Advancing on the mantra that you are what you eat, they reported this with the caveat that fruit consumption was also an important factor in their findings – people who eat 150 grams or more of fruit each day were at lower risk of developing the disease.

Over in Denmark, ophthalmologist and myopia researcher, Dr Trier Klaus was analysing a caffeine-related study of his own. He reported how a caffeine metabolite that he has been studying for almost two decades has shown promising results in myopia control.

And from coffee beans to leafy greens, and to some extent proving that you really can have too much of a good thing, is the case of a woman who was referred to a retinal clinic for crystal deposits in the macular regions of her eyes.

Despite having no history of AMD or vision issues, the woman in question had been consuming a morning broccoli, kale, spinach and avocado smoothie, as well as a daily 20mg lutein supplement for eight years.

After having the levels of the carotenoid in her serum, skin and retina measured, researchers reported double the levels present compared to a person not taking supplements. On quitting the supplement, the crystals in her eye slowly disappeared.

Typing this comment at my desk this morning with my breakfast in front of me, can you guess what I’m having? I’m seeing today’s green breakfast in a whole different light.

A very green breakfast

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