A new study has shown that olive oil and coconut oil are the secret ingredients to improving your eyesight and protecting it from old age.
Researchers recently published a study in Food Research International. The study indicated that a diet rich in olive oil and coconut oil is good for your eyesight. This diet has been shown to improve the absorption and antioxidant quality of lutein in mice.
What is Lutein?
Lutein is a naturally occurring carotenoid found in plants. Examples are kale, spinach and yellow carrots. It is also found in the yolk of eggs and animal fats.
When humans eat and absorb it, it is used by the body as an antioxidant. Lutein also collects in the retina. Here it is used to protect against the damage caused to your eyesight as a result of blue light absorption.
The researchers examined the effects of administering 200 micromolars of lutein, in various forms of oil, to lutein-deficient mice.
The researchers looked at; olive oil, coconut oil, groundnut oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, rice bran oil, corn oil, palm oil and fish oil. They found that the mice’s lutein levels were at their highest (82%) when olive oil was used. Coconut oil was the second best dietary lipid for administration, at 68% plasma lutein levels.
The researchers say that this confirms that olive oil and coconut oil are, therefore, important for the transportation of lutein to target tissues.
How Will Olive Oil Improve My Eyesight?
Olive oil is able to do this because it increases the ability of the intestine to absorb lutein by 167%. Coconut oil increases this ability by 150% compared to the control group.
Olive oil allows for the three key requirements of lutein absorption:
- Transfer of lutein to the mixed micelle (aggregate molecules) during digestion in the small intestine.
- Uptake by the enterocytes (a cell of the small intestines lining.
- Transport into chylomicrons (fat droplets) for secretion.
The researchers say that a fatty acid which is naturally occurring in Olive Oil may also assist with increased absorption.
The study also found that the accumulation of lutein in the eyes was the highest with olive oil (117%). The second highest was coconut oil (109%).
The researchers say that these findings may go a long way towards the nutrition and biomedical fields choosing a suitable dietary lipid to protect the eyes against the progression of AMD (age-related macular degeneration) and cataracts.