In June 2013, I had the honor of being interviewed for Fox Sports Ohio Broadcaster Chris Welsh's Tech Talk (a segment found on most of Cincinnati Reds pregame shows). We recorded three segments and one of the segments talked about the importance of athletes eating the right foods so that they will have peak vision for their athletic performance. I even held up some fresh kale, broccoli and spinach during the interview to provide visual aides.
This topic was actually not new news to the players. Many of them had already incorporated greens into their diets. Their favorite was to eat kale chips (kale leaves that had been baked). Some even were taking a supplement to improve vision, Eyepromise.
Fast forward three years to the June 2016 Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science Journal and you can now read a study which documents that not only do the ingredients found in green leafy vegetable help protect your eyes from the harmful affects that blue light and aging have on your eyes, but they also help you see better as well as improve your depth perception. (Click here to read the study).
Visual acuity is formed by receptors known as cones in your retina. The larger the number of cones and the more dense they are packed in together allows athletes to have better than 20/20 vision. A larger area of these cones covering the retina give athletes larger areas of central vision (the detailed vision zone) allowing them to see more of the playing field in one gaze.
Let's look how vision works.
The image, say a baseball, enters the eye and hits cones. The cones fire off an impulse of the image to the brain. The brain sees the image....a fastball....swing!
Lutein is an antioxidant which allows the cone to fire quickly, allows the nerve impulse to move faster and digests the waste products of this chemical reaction to be removed by the blood stream preparing the cone for the next image. This topic is also referred to as macular pigment.
Lutein is found in green leafy vegetables which maximize vision. Lutein cannot be absorbed into the body without the help of Zeaxanthin. The daily recommendation of Lutein is 10 mg to 2 mg of zeaxanthin.
Chapter 11 of my book, See To Play, is dedicated completely to the topic of nutrition and the eyes. I break down exactly what nutrients are needed and how they help vision and ocular health.
Now, we have more proof that if athletes eat the best....they can see the best!