Dr. Mario E. Torres-Leon, of the Telly award-winning Health, Spice, Life Show breaks down his research on degeneration and how a plant-rich diet can positively affect eye health. By consuming the right ingredients, you can slow down degenerative processes and the formation of cataracts, thus enhancing the longevity and quality of your eye health. Essential nutrients that promote eye health include lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, and E.
Nicole Astra: Welcome to Talking Plant Protein. Our guest today is no stranger to TV and a trusted voice in the medical community, Dr. Mario Torres-Leon, thank you for joining us today. Dr. Mario Torres-Leon: What a pleasure to be here with you, Nicole, thank you for having me. Nicole Astra: So we all correlate our diet to our health. We all hear about plant-based diets and the reduction of risk factors, but there's something I really never have thought about. And that is what we eat actually affects our vision. So tell us what you have found in your research and what we need to know. Dr. Mario Torres-Leon: Let's just actually deep dive into this. I tend to think of the eye almost like the brain. It's almost like that area that nobody really knows what it does, how it actually works, but we all rely on it and we take it for granted. So there are many things that are happening in the eye that are essential for our daily living, especially those of us who actually have the sense of vision. And we have to be thinking, how can I actually a plant protein diet be impacting the components of the eye? So actually, let's just have a little brief looking to the anatomy of the eye and how that works. You see where we go from the front of the eye to the back of the eye, we're going through the lens, which is a very important piece of the eye because it actually focuses all the light rays that are coming through and they continue to travel backwards. And as they do that, they land in an area, it's a little carpet if you will, a magic carpet called the retina. And now the retina is a highly specialized portion of the body. Why? Because it is incredibly rich in nerve endings and now in the very center of that retina, that back layer of the eye we have, what's called the macula. And we have all heard about macular degeneration or maybe retinal detachment. So we can actually do things, especially now that we know more and more about what are the components of the portion of the eye that can actually impact the health of that. Now, when we think about the components of the retina in particular, in the lens, we're thinking about collagen, we're thinking about neurons, particularly in the retina and the macula and those areas are incredibly important. Why? Because everything that is coming into the eye is being transmitted to the brain and those components, a lot of them have to do with proteins. And a lot of them also have to do with fatty acids and fatty components. So being able to actually now transition into having a plant protein based diet, we can actually target in a conscious way, those portions of the eye so we can enhance the vision. And why is that important? Well, as you know Nicole, more and more people nowadays are living longer lives and it is so important, not only to live longer, but to actually have quality of living. So how do we do that? There are components in our diet that are important and they can come from plants. And some of those things are lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids. And then we go into the whole cascade of vitamins, whether it's A, C and E. And some of the things that we can actually take in our diet right now that impacts that, would include the different orange containing foods, if you will. So we can talk about the orange bell peppers, we can talk about pumpkin, we can talk about some of those carrots that we see, they're organic in particular, that have those components that bring the pigment to those cells that are taking the light. Now we can move into the nuts, which we know have tons of protein as well, but also in carrying those proteins, they bring with them the omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the functionality of those nerves. And then when you move into the fruit category, we can be talking about the blueberries, we can be talking about the carrots. And those in particular are going to bring tons of vitamins with them. Now, the funny piece of this, many people don't like to actually have greens in their diet. But the fact of the matter is when we talk about the kale, when we talk about spinach, or we talk about the colored greens, those are super, super rich in some of these components that we've talked about and they can completely enhance not only the quality of your vision, but ultimately as we're aging, they can slow down degenerative processes, they can slow down the formation of cataracts and they can actually enhance the longevity and the quality of those chemicals that are in those nerve endings that make part of the retina and the macula. Nicole Astra: It's absolutely fascinating stuff. So you can catch him on his bilingual TV show, The Health Spice and Life Show With Dr. Mario. Before we go, I have to say a huge congratulations to you and your team on your recent tele award. Dr. Mario Torres-Leon: Thank you so much. That's really a great success for the show and it really speaks to what we're doing here. It's elevating the quality of the people by bringing to them information that is not just information, is really inspirational, is transformative. And we know they can actually increase and enhance the quality of their lives. And that's why having this kind of programming with the plant protein diet in your channel is so essential for the quality of living of so many millions who are watching right now. Nicole Astra: Absolutely, and we appreciate your education today. Thank you so much. Dr. Mario Torres-Leon: Thank you for having me.