Green Tea May Improve Your Eye Health
You may have known green tea is healthy. It is obviously better than soda, or beverages full of sugar. Many have touted it for its multitude of health benefits. It contains antioxidants and nutrients that may promote weight loss, lower the risk of certain types of cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and improve brain function. But, did you know that green tea is also an excellent food for your eye health? Here’s all you need to know about the eye health benefits of green tea.
What Is Green Tea?
For centuries, green tea has been used in India and China for medicinal purposes. Only recently has this healthful beverage achieved global recognition. If you’ve never tried it, you might be wondering: what exactly is green tea?
All tea – except for herbal varieties – is brewed from the same dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush. What separates green from black tea, oolong and other variations is its oxidation level. Unlike black tea, green tea is made from un-oxidized leaves. It’s also less processed than dark teas, meaning it contains the highest concentration of antioxidants and polyphenols.
You can purchase tea as loose leaf or in single tea bags, as an instant powder, in bottles, and in supplements. Depending on the type of tea and how long you brew it, green tea contains a minimal amount of caffeine per cup. Unsweetened, brewed tea is also a zero-calorie beverage.
How Does Green Tea Affect Eye Health?
In a 2010 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers performed a study on the effects of green tea on eye health. During the study, laboratory rats were fed green tea extract. It was found that catechins, natural antioxidants, were found in their eye tissue. This included vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all found in green tea.
They discovered that certain parts of the eye, such as the retina, absorb the most catechins, while other areas, like the cornea, absorb the least. Their findings also indicate that drinking green tea offers up to 20 hours of eye protection. In the end, researchers concluded that consuming tea may provide protective benefits when it comes to eye health.
Why Are Antioxidants Important to Eye Health?
Your eyes are made up of many small structures. It includes the retina, the macula, blood vessels, the optic nerve, and muscles. Unfortunately, free radicals, or unstable atoms, can damage these tissues, impacting your vision. Often, the increase of free radicals in the body is the result of poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking and other activities. Antioxidants, however, help to cancel out these free radicals. They can also help to prevent AMD, cataracts, glaucoma, retinal occlusion, and retinal nerve disorders.
Currently, the connection between antioxidants and eye health is still being tested through studies and clinical trials. Although, most of these tests have shown a positive association between nutrition and cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Therefore, it may be beneficial to increase the number of antioxidants, especially those found in tea, in your diet.
As always, the best thing for your eyes is regular eye exams. Contact Looking Glass Optical to set up an appointment today. We’re conveniently located at 8028 Ritchie Hwy, Suite 124 in Pasadena, MD. In the meantime, drink more green tea!