A recent study found that consuming vegetable nitrates may help to reduce risk of developing early-state age-related macular degeneration (AMD).1Vegetable nitrates are found in high concentration in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, as well as beetroots.
Study is part of a 15-year ongoing investigation of lifestyle and dietary factors of health and disease
The study is part of a 15-year ongoing investigation of lifestyle and dietary factors’ contribution to health and disease in Australia and is being conducted by researchers at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research. For this specific facet of the study on AMD, over 2,000 adults over the age of 49 were followed for 15 years.
Findings of the study
The findings of the study showed that individuals who ate between 100 and 142 mg of vegetable nitrates daily had a 35 percent lower risk of developing early AMD compared to those who ate less than 69 mg per day.
‘First time the effects of dietary nitrates on macular degeneration risk measured’
Lead Researcher Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath from the Westmead Institute and the University of Sydney said “This is the first time the effects of dietary nitrates on macular degeneration risk has been measured.” And that “If our findings are confirmed, incorporating a range of foods rich in dietary nitrates – like green leafy vegetables and beetroot – could be a simple strategy to reduce the risk of early macular degeneration.”
Spinach has roughly 20 mg of nitrate per 100g
To make these amounts tangible, spinach has roughly 20 mg of nitrate per 100g. This is roughly two handfuls. Beets contain about 15 mg per 100g, which is around a handful.
Dietary nitrates increase nitric oxide in the blood
Dietary nitrates increase nitric oxide in the blood, which are thought to improve vasodilation, which improve blood flow. This has been a physiological reason for advocating foods high in nitrates for other conditions such as hypertension.
Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at Love is Medicine to explore the convergence of love and health.