Red wine, for all of its polyphenols and beneficial antioxidants, is accepted as a healthy indulgence in moderation. For several years, scientists have tossed around evidence that it can help fight heart disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease. But did you know it could even be good for your eyes? A leading ophthalmologist, Milind Pande, says it can protect the eye muscles from age-related deterioration.
According to the Daily Mail, resveratrol—the compound credited with nearly all of red wine’s benefits—is the champion behind its vision benefits as well. The compound found in the skin of grapes, is said to put the brakes on age related deterioration that occurs in the eye muscles as we age.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in older adults. If a glass of red wine daily is able to help prevent this common affliction, it could be justification for that cabernet with dinner or that merlot by the fireplace.
“It is thought that resveratrol stops out-of-control blood vessel growth in the eye,” said Dr. Pande. “This means it could help to preserve vision in age-related macular degeneration—the leading cause of blindness in the UK—and in cases of diabetic retinopathy, which can cause vision loss in people with diabetes.”
Dr. Pande goes on to add that wine is far from the only thing you can consume to protect your eyes.
“A diet, rich in vitamins A, C and E, lutein, zeaxanthin and essential fatty acids may also help protect against eye disease and these can be found in brightly colored fruit and veg such as corn, orange peppers, tangerines, and oranges.”
A study released earlier this year focused on the ability of spinach to aid in the prevention of macular degeneration. Researchers zoned in on the ability of lutein within the spinach to combine with zeaxanthin within the body to create macular pigment, or an oily substance that lubricates and protects the retina.
Another clinical trial from the National Eye Institute found that antioxidants alone—like those found in red wine and fresh vegetables—was able to reduce the progression of macular degeneration by a whopping 28% over a five year period.
Eye health is as simple as consuming proper foods. In addition to brightly colored fruits and vegetables, red wine could offer the protective qualities needed to prevent age-related macular degeneration.