By Dr. Mercola
One of the best parts of leading a healthy lifestyle is that it doesn’t only affect one or two aspects of your health; it makes you healthier overall. Take eating vegetables, which is arguably one of the most important aspects of living healthy.
Vegetables contain many different antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get anywhere else.
Plant chemicals called phytochemicals may reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens, while others regulate the rate at which your cells reproduce, get rid of old cells and maintain DNA.
Vegetables are also a primary dietary source of naturally occurring nitrates, which have multiple health benefits, including for your vision health.
Eating More Leafy Greens May Lower Your Glaucoma Risk
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people over 60. It’s estimated that 3 million Americans suffer from it, but only about half of them know it. In the early stages, glaucoma has no symptoms, but it progresses slowly until vision loss becomes noticeable.
At this point, it may be too late, but if glaucoma is caught early your vision loss may be slowed or prevented. Even with treatment, however, about 10 percent of people with glaucoma will still lose their sight.1 Prevention is therefore the best strategy.
Glaucoma is caused by damage to your optic nerve, often due to abnormally high eye pressure. Impaired blood flow is also known to play a role, and this is where eating your veggies come in.
Green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure (high blood pressure is a risk factor for glaucoma).
There’s also some evidence that nitric