Sprouts May Help Fight AMD

Sprouts May Help Fight AMD

Age related macular degeneration has increased from previous numbers reported. This is actually on track from the original 11 million recorded, estimated to double by 2050.

According to the results from the last study of collaborative efforts by researchers from the University of Chicago, University of Washington and University of Michigan, respectively, titled ’Prevalence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the US in 2019’ it was stated that,

“For 2019, we estimated that there were 18.34 million people 40 years and older [ ] living with early-stage AMD, [ ]. We estimated there were 1.49 million people 40 years and older [ ] living with late-stage AMD [age related macular degeneration]”

Although much is being done by the medical scientific community to stop this incurable disease it still remains one of the top, eye pathologies capable of blinding its host. However, naturally applied mitigating practices (plant-based diet, exercise, supplements and other lifestyle improvements) have shown good results when applied as preventative measures or adjuncts to conventional treatments. This is especially beneficial regarding dietary and supplemental choices. When it comes to diet, a variety of plant-based sources offer different levels of possible protection to help your retina, macula, and much surrounding tissue avoid AMD. 

One food source that is getting some promising science behind it is sprouts. Particularly broccoli sprouts, and broccoli as well, but the sprouts may be more potent with certain compounds that are believed to be another advantageous AMD protector. 

Explore these amazing microscopic compounds and how they react with microscopic enzymes to show how sprouts may help fight AMD. 

Protective Puzzle

The compound sulphoraphane, found in sprouts and broccoli, (as well as many other cruciferous vegetables) is one piece of the protective puzzle. 

Sulphoraphane holds some powerful antioxidant ability and may be especially helpful when it comes to the daily accumulation of ‘particulate matter’ (PM). PM is the microscopic junk floating around as a result of things like car exhaust, factory pollution, toxic natural emissions and other VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). When you inhale PM, if your body is not strong enough to fight this poisonous accumulation, oxidative stress can develop and disease can occur. 

An interesting study titled, ‘Sulforaphane Alleviates Particulate Matter-Induced Oxidative Stress in Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells’ conducted by South Korean researchers from Kyungpook National University and published in the journal Ophthalmology found that,

“Exposure to PM decreased cell viability in ARPE-19 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner, potentially due to elevated intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). SFN treatment increased ARPE-19 cell viability and decreased PM-induced oxidative stress…These findings suggest that SFN [sulphoraphan] is a potential therapeutic for AMD, which is characterized in part by RPE [retinal pigment epithelial] atrophy.”

Eat sprouts to protect your eyes from the dangers of particulate matter.

The Paradoxical Pre-Cursor

Another major player in the unique benefits of sprouts for macular degeneration is the glucosinolate, glucoraphanin. 

Glucosinolates are a group of sulphur-containing components that give certain plants a pungent taste and smell. 

Glucoraphanin is the pre-cursor to the development of sulforaphane. It combines with the enzyme myrosinase to form sulforaphane. This combination is such a unique development it is labeled a paradoxical event. 

According to a study of glucoraphanin reported by Science Direct, it was stated that,

“Following plant tissue damage, glucoraphanin combines with the enzyme myrosinase to form the isothiocyanate, sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is a natural health product with properties that have paradoxical effects. On the one hand it has been shown to be profoundly protective of cell death as a neuroprotective agent for neurodegenerative diseases, and on the other hand, it has been shown to be pro-apoptotic [programmed cell death] as an anticancer agent.”

This kind of dual function should be highly considered for winning a battle against future macular degeneration development. In addition, the glucoraphanin/sulphoraphan process also brings the reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines, considered one of the most damaging aspects of AMD. 

Slide in Some Sprouts

Many people consider sprouts something found on a restaurant or deli sandwich. However, there are some easy ways to incorporate the beneficial effects of glucoraphanin and sulphoraphan for macular degeneration protection right into your next calendar of meals. Try for three or four cups of sprouts per week starting with these tasty recipes. 

Avocado Toast Extravaganza

Combining sprouts with avocado and whole grains is a super sandwich must. This easy matchup will surely get you going.

2-4 slices whole wheat bread (or any other bread other than white like sprouted, spelt, or sunflower)

1 ripe avocado

1 cup broccoli sprouts

1/2 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese (any vegan cheese works as well)

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives

1/2 cup sliced mini golden tomatoes 

Olive oil

Sea salt

Black pepper

Toast bread until firm but not overdone. 

Gently and slowly spread sliced avocado on each slice using the back of a fork. 

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the avocado. 

Sprinkle cheese on to avocado. 

Add salt and pepper. 

Add a handful of sprouts to each slice. 

Place two or three olives and tomatoes into the ‘nest’ of sprouts. 

Sprinkle a little more olive oil over the sprouts. 


Broccoli Sprout Smoothie

2 cups filtered water

1/4 cup hemp seeds

2 cups baby spinach

1/2 cup broccoli sprouts, rinsed well

1 banana, frozen

1 cup frozen strawberries

1/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Combine the water, hemp seeds, spinach, broccoli sprouts, banana, strawberries, pineapple chunks, and cocoa powder into the base of a high-speed blender.

Process on the “smoothie” mode or for at least 45 seconds on high until completely blended.

The texture should be smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.

*Recipe courtesy of: Clean Eating Kitchen

Embrace more sprouts into your diet for a whole food approach to preventing macular degeneration. Broccoli sprouts have a spicy, earthy taste that can add zing to just about any dish while strengthening your vision at the same time.