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22 DE abril DE 2018

Did you know that broccoli improves your eyesight?

Wiki Spanish Food editorial team

Scientists and nutritionists promote broccoli consumption to improve eyesight and, in particular, to avoid retinitis pigmentosa, a group of genetic, degenerative eye disorders that affect around 20,000 people in Spain.

Poor nutrition can affect your eyesight. According to Laura Jorge, a nutritionist and dietitian, "Eating a varied and balanced diet is essential for our eyesight." She adds that antioxidants and vitamins are essential for good vision and, therefore, the foods we eat each day are "vitally important."

In the case of retinitis pigmentosa, she highlights the importance of eating fruit and vegetables as a way to keep this disease at bay. Broccoli, for example, contains vitamin A (which improves night vision), C (which protects against ultraviolet light exposure) and E (which prevents age-related macular degeneration) as well as lutein (which protects vision by filtering out harmful light).

It also contains sulforaphane, a bioactive compound that acts as a "safeguard against ultraviolet radiation and oxidative damage that can cause to our eyes", says Diego A. Moreno, a researcher at the Department of Food Science and Technology's Phytochemical Laboratory (CEBAS-CSIS), which collaborates actively with the association +Broccoli.

Moreno also notes that consumption of broccoli and its sprouts is "good preventative therapy" against degenerative diseases of the eye, such as cataracts.

Retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic, degenerative disease

Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of chronic eye diseases which are genetic and degenerative and affect the retina. People with these diseases have a hard time adapting to lack of light and a reduced visual field, which can lead to blindness.

It was diagnosed for the first time at the end of the 19th century, and until that time it had been a mystery to doctors. It's caused by the degeneration and apoptosis of photoreceptors (rods-peripheral vision), although in the final phases it affects the cones (central vision), which leads to blindness in a large number of cases.

The average age when the illness generally appears can vary between 25 and 40, although there have been cases of people who are under 20 and over 50 as well. The disease doesn't affect everyone in the same way, even within the same family, and children can be affected much more seriously than their parents, and vice versa.

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