Could a colourful diet improve the visual range of athletes?

A new study has set out a dietary strategy for optimising the visual range of sportspeople

Bowls of colourful fruit and vegetables are arranged on a table

New research published in Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews has outlined a dietary strategy for optimising the visual range of athletes.

Scientists from the University of Georgia propose that focusing on a diet rich in colourful fruits and vegetables could improve eye health and visual function.

Jack Harth, a doctoral candidate at the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health, highlighted that visual range is a key asset for athletes in most sports.

“A lot of the research into macular lutein and zeaxanthin has focused on health benefits, but from a functional perspective, higher concentrations of these plant pigments improve many aspects of visual and cognitive ability. In this paper, we discuss their ability to improve vision in the far distance or visual range,” he said.

Foods containing lutein and zeaxanthin include dark leafy greens and yellow and orange vegetables.

Harth highlighted that data from modelling and empirical studies shows that higher macular pigment in the retina can improve the ability to see over distance.

“The application for athletes is clear,” he said.