Prevent cataracts by including these in your diet

Tracy Woolrich's picture
Cataract prevention
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One of the most important things you can do for your health in general is to eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. According to a recent study out of Sweden, women who eat a diet rich in antioxidants can also lower their risk of cataracts.

I already knew this and need no studies to prove it. My mother, who is in her eighties, is an active vibrant woman. She is on the computer frequently and is active on many forums requiring acute eyesight. She recently went to have her eye glasses updated and they told her she only had the very earliest stages of a slight cataract in one eye. Otherwise her eyes were clean and clear. It is no coincidence that she has been faithfully taking grape seed extract for nearly 2 decades now.

Grape seed extract has incredible antioxidant abilities. It contains 95% oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPC’s), which is more than any other antioxidant on the market. In regards to my mother’s experience it is obviously doing its job.

Study
According to the latest study which is out of Sweden, there is over a 10% lower risk in developing cataracts in women who consumed a diet high in antioxidants.

"Oxidative damage of the eye lens caused by free radicals has been suggested to be crucial in development of cataract," said Susanne Rautiainen of the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institutet, who led the study.

The study followed more than 30,000 women over the age of 49, for over 7 years. They discovered that those with the highest intake of antioxidants had a 13 percent lower risk of developing cataracts than those who consumed the least. The results were published in JAMA Ophthalmology.These findings are in line with various previously documented researches suggesting antioxidants may help protect against cataracts.

Rautiainen suspects the results would be similar among men, however those studies have not yet been done.

That is great news, although it may be a little too late for the more than 20 million Americans aged 40 years and older that already have cataracts. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Even so, it is never to late to prevent or halt further development.

Oxidative damage can cause cataracts. As the lens ages it becomes more susceptible to oxidation. That is why it is important to wear protective ultraviolet reducing glasses as sunlight generates free radicals in the eye’s lens. These free radicals are neutralized by antioxidants that are present in the eye.

Although studies do not indicate that cataracts may be reversed, they do suggest that the oxidation causing cataracts may be prevented or decreased by increased intakes of antioxidants.

Eye healthy diet

Blueberries
Contain a plethora of nutrition for the eye. They contain carotenoids (like carrots do) as well as lutein. Also they have anthocynanin and phytonutrients that may improve night vision. In addition they are rich in rutin, resveratrol (like grapes) as well as quercitin which are all powerful nutrients. This on top of zinc and selenium make them the biggest visual asset out there!

Carrots
They contain beta carotene, lycopene, and lutein, Beta carotene can be converted to Vitamin A within the body which is important to fight oxidative stress to the lens. Lutein and lycopene are both cancer fighting as well as protect the eyes from free radical damage.

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Grapes
Contain flavonoids which can reduce and fight the damage caused by free radicals. It can therefore help prevent cataracts, macular degeneration as well as heart disease.

Eggs
Contain glutathione which is a protein that is a powerful antioxidant for the lens of your eye. Also they contain lutein which may help reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration.

Tomatoes
Contain lutein and lycopene which are both cancer fighting as well as protect the eyes from sun damage.

Apricots
Contain beta carotene and lycopene. Beta carotene can be converted to Vitamin A within the body which is important to fight oxidative stress to the lens.

Garlic
Contains glutahione which is a protein that contains sulphur.Glutathione helps prevent cataracts as well as macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Broccoli
Contains an unusual compound called sulphoraphane which fight free radicals.

Zucchini
Contain lutein and carotenoids that protect the retina from ultraviolet light.

Greens
Are very high in lutein which protect the eyes from ultraviolet light damage.

Fish
Fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, Specifically EPA and DHA with are important for retina health. In fact over 30% of the fatty acids in the retina is comprised of DHA. That is pretty impressive.

Supplementation
Because it is difficult to obtain all the nutrients you require for good health you may want to supplement your diet. Consider taking the following

  • A high quality daily multivitamin that contains folic acid, zinc and copper
  • 500mg-1 GM of Vitamin C daily
  • Grape Seed Extract (92%-95%)100mg twice a day. Smokers should take it three times a day.
  • 2000 milligrams (2 GM) of omega-3 fatty acids daily

Take Home message:
It is important to purchase the freshest fruits and vegetables as possible. Farmer’s markets and home grown are always the best. This will boost your antioxidant intake. Also when purchasing your supplements, make sure you use well known companies. You truly do get what you paid for.

SOURCES:
NIH

National Eye Institute, “Age-Related Eye Disease Study—Results”

Gritz DC, Srinivasan M, et al., “The Antioxidants in Prevention of Cataracts Study: effects of antioxidant supplements on cataract progression in South India,” British Journal of Ophthalmology, July 2006: 847-51.

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