GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – A study on phytochemical-rich diets’ impact on visual abilities of Amazonian hunter-gatherers in Ecuador is suggesting phytochemicals are needed to keep sight health.
The study was published in the February edition of the journal Nutrition Research.
The study shows a contrast between dietary phytochemicals and eye health that demonstrated in the lack of myopia in undisturbed populations of hunter-gatherers in the Amazon, while it is prevalent in the modern populations where the phytochemical-rich diet is absent.
The larger quantities and variety of wild, seasonal phytochemicals in consumed food seems to reduce degenerative-based eye disease when compared to the food systems and visual acuity of “modern” populations.
The study compared eye acuity between isolated Amazonian Kawymeno Waorani hunter-gatherers and neighboring Kichwa subsistence agrarians, using dietary surveys, dietary pattern observation, and Snellen Illiterate E visual acuity examinations.
What was found was hunter-gatherers consumed more food species and more wild plants than agrarians.
As a result, hunter-gatherers kept high visual acuity throughout life, whereas agrarian visual acuity declined.
Researchers conclude that in order to retain good visual acuity a person’s diet must consist of a wider variety of plant foods with necessary phytochemicals for eye health.