When we are getting older, with every year that goes by, we have to hold the newspaper a little bit further away to read the headlines. Traffic signs get harder to see, and as for reading the menu in a dim restaurant, well, forget it! Our eyes undergo slight changes over time, which is natural. But for people with cataracts, the loss of vision can be severe. Cataracts develop due to proteins that build up inside the lenses of the eyes. |
Cataracts are the leading course of blindness in adults 45 years and older and cataracts surgery is the most common surgical procedure in the United States.
By wearing sunglasses and avoid smoking, you may help to reduce the risk of cataracts, but an even better strategy is to eat more fruits and vegetables. These foods contain a variety of protective compounds that can avoid damage to the eyes.
The eyes are getting constantly bombarded by free radicals. These are harmful oxygen molecules who are unstable and are constantly trying to replace missing electrons by steeling them from healthy cells. The best way to stop this process is to fill your body with antioxidants , such as beta-carotene and vitamins C and E.
Spinach strengthens the eyes Popeye the sailor man ate a lot of spinach to build strong muscles but spinach also works very well for strengthening the eyes. As a matter of fact, spinach might be one of your best defenses against cataracts. From a study involving 50.000 nurses at the Harvard University, researchers found that those who got the most carotenoids, which natural plant pigments, such as beta-carotene, in their diets where 39% less likely to develop cataracts than women who got the least. And when researchers looked at specific foods that contained carotenoids, spinach appeared to be the most protective.
Spinach, and also kale, broccoli, and other drark green vegetables, also contains apart from beta- carotene, two other carotenoids: lutein and zeaxanthin, which concentrate in the fluids of the eyes. This means that you're getting superior protection right where you need it most.
A study conducted at Harvard University involving 40,000 women found that those who ate the most fruits and vegetables (3 1/2 servings each day) had a 10% to 15% less risk of developing cataracts, compared with the women who ate the least fruits and vegetables. They are great sources of antioxidants, including vitamin C, which has proven to be a key player in keeping the eyes clear.
Although the daily value (DV) for vitamin C is 60 milligram, Dr. Taylor recommends boosting this amount to 250 milligram for maximum protection of the eyes. It's easy to get that much vitamin C in your diet. A half-cup of broccoli, for example, contains about 30 milligrams of vitamin C, and a large glass of fresh squeezed orange juice contains about 90 milligrams.
Catch a Fish An excellent way to eat all these vegetables is to have some fish with it. One study found that women who ate fish containing omega-3 fatty acids at least once a week had a 12% lower risk of needing cataract surgery. The best fish that contains the most omega-3 is salmon, Spanish mackerel, and sardines.
Glass of milk You wouldn't think that milk would be good for your eyes, but as a matter of fact, along with chicken and yogurt, it provide excellent eye protection. These foods contain large amounts of riboflavin, a B vitamin that appears to prevent the formation of cataracts. Researchers at State University of New York found in a study, involving more than 1,000 people, that those getting the most riboflavin were far less likely to have cataracts than those getting smaller amounts.
The reason , once again, can be found in antioxidants. The body uses riboflavin to manufacture glutathione, a powerful compound that fight off free radicals. Make sure to get enough riboflavin, otherwise glutathione levels drop and that allows free radicals to damage the eyes
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