Cataracts are caused by a buildup of protein on your eye lens. Proper nutrition can lower your risk of developing this condition.
This protein film is often the result of aging, though illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure can contribute to the condition. Additionally, eye injuries can lead to this protein buildup. Finally, cataracts can be a congenital condition.
Foods to Lower Your Risk
A diet high in plant-based foods is a simple way to avoid age-related cataract development. It’s interesting to note that the consumption of multivitamins does not appear to lower your risk of cataract development.
For an optimal array of cataract-fighting nutrients and antioxidants, try to incorporate the following foods into your diet on a regular basis:
- Vitamin C and beta keratins. Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit offer a terrific and flavorful way to increase your vitamin C.
- Vitamin A, zinc and folic acid. Spinach and other dark, leafy greens offer a simple and tasty way to boost your intake of these crucial nutrients. Raw spinach offers the highest level of vitamin A. From salads to sandwiches to smoothies, this easy-to-find and easy-to-use green vegetable can protect your vision as you age.
- Extra virgin olive oil. Essential fatty acids and antioxidants found in extra virgin olive oil can protect against cataract formation. Extra virgin olive oil can also help protect your retina.
- Vitamin E. If you like nuts, vitamin E is easy to enjoy. Almonds and sunflower seeds are loaded with vitamin E, as are broccoli and avocadoes. In addition to protecting your eyes from cataract development, this important nutrient may also protect your brain against dementia.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Fish that grows in cold water offers the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, including tuna, salmon and sardines. If you don’t have access to fresh fish or simply don’t like the taste, there are canned alternatives that you may find more tolerable.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin. Egg yolks are a terrific source of lutein and zeaxanthin, and eggs in general offer a great way to get healthy protein into your diet without the extra cataract risk found in consumption of red meat.
- Green tea is one of the simplest ways to increase your antioxidant intake on a daily basis. It should be noted that some people find this tea acerbic and may have some stomach upset after drinking it. If this is a concern, have a bit of fat and protein with your green tea, such as a hard-boiled egg.
If you want to lower your risk of cataracts, there are certain foods you should avoid. A diet high in red meat appears to increase the risk of cataract development. In addition, regular consumption of alcohol can also contribute to cataract growth.
Protecting your eyes against cataracts can be done with simple daily changes in diet. If you are consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables but are concerned about your meat intake, simply switch from hamburgers to salmon or tuna twice a week. Spinach is an easy addition to your salad plate, and a salad dressing made with extra virgin olive oil will increase both flavor and eye health!