Colorful, fresh foods play a vital role in improving eyesight in athletes: Study

Colorful, fresh foods play a vital role in improving eyesight in athletes: Study

Nutrition is an essential component of any elite athlete’s training program. A recent study from the University of Georgia suggests that athletes’ field of vision could be improved by upping their diet with colorful fruits and vegetables. The paper, which was published in Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, examines how a group of plant compounds that build up in the retina, known as macular pigments, work to improve eye health and functional vision.

Eating foods such as dark leafy greens or yellow and orange vegetables, which contain high levels of the plant compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, improve eye and brain health. (Unsplash)

Previous studies conducted by UGA researchers Billy R. Hammond and Lisa Renzi-Hammond have shown that eating foods such as dark leafy greens or yellow and orange greens, which contain high levels of the plant compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, improve eye and eye health. brain.

“Much of the research on macular lutein and zeaxanthin has focused on health benefits, but from a functional standpoint, higher concentrations of these plant pigments improve many aspects of vision and cognition. In this paper, we discuss the their ability to improve vision in far distance or visual range,” said lead author Jack Harth, a doctoral candidate in UGA’s College of Public Health.

View range, or how well a person can clearly see a target at a distance, is a key resource for top athletes in nearly every sport. The reason that objects become harder to see and appear blurrier the further they are from our eyes is partly due to the effects of blue light.

“From a centre-back’s perspective, if that ball is going up in the air, it will be seen against a bright blue sky background, or against a gray background if it’s an overcast day. Either way, the target is obscured by the interference atmospheric coming in that path of light,” said Harth.

Many athletes already take steps to reduce the impact of blue light through eye black or blue blocker sunglasses, but eating more foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can improve the eye’s natural ability to handle blue light exposure. Harth said. When a person absorbs lutein and zeaxanthin, the compounds collect as yellow pigments in the retina and act as a filter to block blue light from entering the eye.

Earlier work had been done in the 1980s testing pilots’ visual beam ability, and Hammond and Renzi-Hammond conducted more recent studies on how macular pigment density, or the amount of yellow pigment accumulated in the retina, is linked to a number of eye health measures and functional vision tests.

“In a long series of studies, we have shown that increasing amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin in the retina and brain decrease glare disability and discomfort, and improve color contrast and visual-motor reaction time, and integration of these compounds facilitate executive functions such as problem solving and memory. All of these tasks are especially important for athletes,” said corresponding author Billy R. Hammond, professor of psychology in the behavioral and brain sciences program at the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at UGA.

This paper, Harth said, updates the research on these links between macular pigment and functional vision and asks what the evidence suggests about optimizing athletic performance.

“We’re at a point where we can say we’ve seen visual range differences in pilots that match the differences we’ve seen in modeling, and now we’ve seen that in lab testing as well, and a future goal would be to actually get people outside and to measure their ability to see distance contrast through true blue haze and in outdoor environments,” said Harth.

But before you start eating kale in hopes of upping your game, he warns you that everyone is different. This could mean that the way our bodies absorb and use lutein and zeaxanthin varies and it may take a while before you notice improvements, if at all.

Still, the evidence for the overall health benefits of consuming more lutein and zeaxanthin is reason enough to add more color to your diet, say the authors. “We have data from modeling and empirical studies showing that higher macular pigment in the retina will improve your ability to see at a distance. The application for athletes is clear,” Harth said.

This story was published from a news agency feed with no text edits. Only the title has been changed.

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