by Taetske | 4:47 pm
(Last Updated On: June 6, 2019)

The Nitrates in vegetables are good for your eyes


Remember when your mother told you to “eat your greens”? Small children normally do not like greens and have to be persuaded to eat it. It usually comes as a bribe or a threat such as “if you do not eat your greens, you will not get to play outside” or “you will not get dessert”.

These are time tested and only occasionally successful methods a mother might use to entice a child to eat healthy foods. Why is it that my Mother always insisted on this? She might have known it was “healthy” without actually knowing all the whys.


macular desease is on the rise

Macular disease is on the rise


Now we know there are many whys you should eat more greens

The consumption of leafy greens is said to lower the risk of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss of people over 60 years of age. In America, some 11 million people suffer from macular degeneration. It is predicted the number will certainly double by the year 2050. This is alarming news and one wonders what can be done to prevent this.




Processed meats are no good

In the past, we have been hearing that nitrates are not good. Bacon, salami, ham, and other processed meats have nitrates and it can be harmful to your health if you eat processed meats every day. Do not stuff yourself on hot dogs. All these meats have one thing in common.

They have added nitrates, which, after being chemically reduced to nitrites (N02), will give the meats their fresh looking pink color and help to keep the meat fresh. The problem is that it increases the formation of N-nitrose compounds in your body, which is a possible carcinogenic.


assorted processed meats

Assorted processed meats


Some Nitrates are good

One might think it is best to stay away from nitrates. The answer is yes and no. Nitrates (also known as sodium nitrates and NO3) and ammonium are fertilizers in the soil. They break down to nitrogen, a nutrient required for healthy plant formation and growth. Nitrogen, when added to the soil (directly through manually applied fertilizer or through absorption from the air), supports vegetative growth and will show up in the leaves.

Recent studies have confirmed that the conversion of dietary nitrate and nitrite to nitric oxide is very beneficial to our health. It dilates and relaxes arteries, it helps with controlling your blood pressure and could be helpful in preventing heart disease. That makes sense as it is the clogged arteries which cause heart problems.


Our eyes, the mirror to our soul

Coming back to my topic, the eyes are such a sensitive organ. With our modern life habits of smoking, too much TV, sitting at the computer, obesity and a poor diet, including large amounts of saturated fats, it is a wonder we can still see. When you have macular degeneration (AMD) you will suffer from a blurry vision, dark spots, distortions, and colors kind of fade. By the way, smokers have a quadruple risk of developing AMD. Just as well I gave up smoking by the end of 2015.


the iris of your eye

The iris of your eye


Medical treatments for your eyes

As for medical treatments, there are a couple of things one can do.  Light treatment (photodynamic therapy) combined with injections in the eyes is one form of treatment available for those suffering from the wet form of AMD. These treatments have to be repeated on a regular basis and do have some side effects. Now I ask you, how would you like needles stuck into your eye. I would definitely prefer a natural method.


eye surgery

Eye surgery


Food changes that help

I think we are much better off making some dietary changes. A study was presented and published in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2000 Australian adults were screened for 15 years. The researchers evaluated the effects of eating vegetable nitrates.

They came to the conclusion that after eating between 100 and 142 mg of vegetable nitrates daily, their chance of developing early AMD was lowered by 35%. This was compared to people who would normally eat less than 69 mg a day. Now, this is really good news as this method is so easy to do. Plus the fact it has no side effects.

A more recent study which included over 100,000 participants who were 40 years or older, showed that eating 240 mg a day had 21% less chance to develop glaucoma, this compared to those people only consuming 80 mg a day. Although glaucoma is not macular degeneration, there is a commonality in that consuming leafy nitrates helps to reduce the chances of developing eye problems.


Now you will probably like to know what to eat

There are many things out there which will provide with a decent amount of nitrates. Included in the list are Butterleaf lettuce (200 mg per serving), Cilantro (257 mg/serving) and rhubarb (281 mg/serving).  Eating these appear to be a good idea. There is one vegetable which beats them all, and that is Arugula, it can boast a fantastic 480 mg of nitrate per serving.


different salat types

Different salad types


First I would like to tell you a bit about the history of Arugula

It has been known since Roman times and was grown as an edible herb in the Mediterranean area. You will find it mentioned in a famous poem, Moretum, attributed to Virgil, which contains the phrase: “et Venerem revocans eruca morantem” (” and the rocket, which revives drowsy Venus(sexual desire) “)

It is said that during the Middle Ages it was strictly forbidden to grow rocket in the vegetable gardens of monasteries.  Anyhow in 802, Charlemagne put out a decree making it possible to grow in gardens. Arugula is not difficult to grow but mild frost will turn its leaves red.



Know your greens

You might think, oh no, greens again. You should not be afraid and try different mixtures, here come some ideas you might want to try. You will find it is exciting to learn how to make tasteful mixtures and at the same time get your daily amount of nitrates, your eyes will thank you.


with eggs and olives

Mixed salad with eggs and olives


As an afterthought

There you see, your mother was right when she told you to eat your greens. As science advances more and more the secrets of nature are revealed. How helpful and good it is to eat natural things has once more been proven right. Take care of your eyes, you only have 2 of them.



Source: Lori Alton for NaturalHealth365 and Wikipedia

Photo Source: Pixabay.



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How To Keep Your Microbiome Healthy With The Right Foods



Hello Teatske,

The benefits of regularly eating greens has long been known and documented. Europe and especially Germany where I live are very much anti GMO products and prides itself on its Bio range which is certified organic and pesticide free. The benefits of plants can in my opinion only be fully realized if the nitrates are organically based and no pesticides are used. Whatever the plant comes into contact with, it will absorb and this does not simply wash off.

Thanks for educating us on the benefits of the plant nitrates and how this relates to ones eyes.


Nov 20.2018 | 03:09 pm


    Good Morning Rich,

    Thank you for your visit. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    I am lucky to live on my farm in Spain as here we can grow things without any pesticides. I made my own, and awful experience with Roundup in 1981 and that opened my eyes and I became organic. We use the leaves from the garden for the orange field, also the ashes from the burn pile. The kitchen leftovers go to the vegetable garden.

    It is sad to see that general health is getting worse as people eat man-made foods. Going back to nature is the best thing one can do.

    Regards, Taetske

    Nov 21.2018 | 08:00 am


I have waited very long to hear or read the words in this post! You often hear about foods to lose weight and so much. Not many people talk about what I say healthy for our eyes. I use glasses but wish I didn’t and had a 20-20 vision. Eating my greens might not get me off glasses but it sure is a step in the right direction. 

Nov 20.2018 | 03:10 pm


    Good Morning Juliet,

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope you have downloaded your free PDF?

    I also use glasses to read and also to work on my computer. When I do cleaning jobs I better not put them on as then I see too much stuff. I will take this information also for myself and when shopping buy Arugula to eat it more often. 

    Regards, Taetske

    Nov 21.2018 | 08:00 am


Hi there 🙂 I heard it so many times, that I should avoid meat and eat more vegetables. I never thought about a reason why I should do it. Reading your article I now know why it is good to eat more vegetables and avoid meat. Now I have become more aware of the reasons. Thanks for your article. 

Jan 25.2019 | 03:42 pm


    Good Morning Igor.

    Thank you for your visit and leaving a comment on my post. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    My Mother also told me to eat my vegetables, I did not always listen.

    Now that I investigate these things I understand she was right. Back to nature that is the best we can do.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jan 26.2019 | 07:19 am


Hi Taetske,

This is a wonderful post about how to improve macular degeneration with nitrates. Many of us are not aware of taking foods containing abnormal fat and harmful element. I personally dislike processed meat and longtime frozen food. I have found some of your information is similar to our parents’ and grand parent’s advice. I will definitely share this helpful tips with my followers. Thanks for sharing this knowledge.

Jan 25.2019 | 03:51 pm


    Good Morning Mzakapon,

    Nice to see you again. Thank you for your comment. 

    Our grandparents knew best. They were still eating natural foods and had a lot of knowledge about why one had to eat certain things. Happy to hear you found my article helpful.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jan 26.2019 | 07:16 am

Maxine Georges

Hi Taetske,
This is an excellent article on using nitrates to prevent/improve macular degeneration.
Pointing out certain foods that hurt our eyes is a good thing to show people how to be healthy.
My mother always encouraged me to eat greens at an early age and I continued to eat them as an adult.
What puzzles me though is the fact of being a vegetarian did not prevent me from being diagnosed with severe glaucoma I know glaucoma is not macular degeneration but the same eating of greens apply. If the genetic implication is there then probably there isn’t much a person can do other than to maintain the condition to the best of their ability. Nonetheless, I will continue to eat my leafy nitrates to increase the probability of improving my health.

An I wrong in feeling this way?

Feb 23.2019 | 02:48 pm


    Good afternoon Maxine,

    Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    I know it is not easy these days to stay healthy as there are a lot of factors which have an influence on your wellbeing. I have often done a fasting cure in my life which helps with cleaning the system. It might be partly genetically conditioned for you to have glaucoma and the best one can do is to have a serious look at the foods one eats and the lifestyle one has. Perhaps you find some things you can improve on.
    Do you take Lutein and Zeaxanthin as a supplement? I am sending you a link to a website where you might find some helpful tips.
    I think you should continue with the leafy greens as they are very good for you. Wishing you all the best.

    Regards, Taetske

    Feb 23.2019 | 03:42 pm


Good Grief, my neighbour and I have just been talking about macular degeneration, she has it in both eyes.

She has injections in one but has been told they can’t treat the other eye in the same way because of two very different problem… the eye they can’t inject is very dry. So she has been told to eat more green vegetables. It is such a horrible thing to have to have the injections. I will share this article with her, she will appreciate more ideas on salads and which foods have nitrates.

I eat lots of greens, and hardly any meat but its not everyones idea of a tasty diet. I like the suggestions you make to include many different greens.

Thank you


Jun 08.2019 | 03:51 pm


    Good Morning Louise,

    Thank you for your visit and your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    I cringe when I read about your friend who gets injections in her eye. I also have a friend who follows the same treatment and she told me it is not too bad. Personally, when I can avoid it, instead of going to the doctor I try to “treat” my health with a good lifestyle and healthy foods.

    When there is fresh spinach in the vegetable garden I love to make an omelet from my happy chicken eggs, add some thinly cut leaves and also some Spanish ham pieces, it tastes great.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jun 09.2019 | 06:03 am

Rob S.

I’m very serious about the health of my eyes!

Since I have type 2 diabetes I have to very very careful and conscious of my vision.

I now eat as healthy as I can and love green leafy vegetables. 

I wasn’t aware that they contained so many nitrates that are good and healthy for your eyes.

It’s no secret that processed meats are no good for you. I’ve read that many times.

But I’ve been on the right track with my vegetables and will continue to do so.

Is it possible to eat too many good nitrates?

Jun 08.2019 | 04:25 pm


    Good Morning Rob,

    I do not think you can eat too many greens but I suppose your digestive system will tell you. That is good that you have changed the foods you eat, I hope you are able to buy organic or perhaps grow some yourself. If you only have a balcony there are things which grow vertically and therefore do not take much space.

    Wishing you success on your health journey. It is a good idea to check if your drinking water is ok and skip Soda pops and anything which has artificial sweetener.

    Thank you for leaving a comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    Regards, Taetske

    Jun 09.2019 | 06:11 am

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