Posted March 9, 2017
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world. They occur naturally with age, clouding the eye’s lens. However, medical experts report that a healthy diet can help prevent or slow the progression of cataracts.
Real food, not supplements
Fluid inside the eye contains a vitamin C-like substance that protects and controls oxidation that clouds the lens. Scientists wondered whether people could boost this protection by eating foods rich in vitamin C, such as red or green bell pepper, orange juice, kiwi and cooked broccoli.
Researchers at King’s College London studied 1,000 pairs of female twins to identify factors that reduced the risk of cataracts.
- Researchers measured the lenses of participants’ eyes at age 60 to get a baseline.
- Scientists checked back with 324 sets of the twins nearly 10 years later and remeasured their lenses. They learned that:
- Those who ate foods rich in vitamin C had a 33 percent reduced risk of developing cataracts, and their lenses were not as cloudy.
- Diet has a bigger impact on the development of cataracts than genetics.
- By conducting the study with twins, researchers could study the role of genetics in the formation of cataracts. They determined that genetics contributed 35 percent while diet accounted for a whopping 65 percent.
Researchers worldwide have studied the influence of vitamins and a healthy diet on the development of cataracts. Here’s a summary of their discoveries:
- Australia – A 10-year study of 2,400 seniors, revealed that vitamin C and other antioxidants helped slow cataract development.
- Another study identified that eating large amounts of carbohydrates can promote cataracts.
- Japan – Researchers found links between cataract and lower levels of antioxidants in the eye’s lens.
- United States – Medical professionals found that adults can reduce cataract risk by eating foods and supplements high in lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin E.
- Different studies revealed that supplements, such as bottled vitamins, do not slow the growth of cataracts.
- Sweden – Scientists studied over 30,000 women age 49 plus for about seven years. They discovered that women reduced their risk of cataracts by consuming foods high in antioxidants such as vitamin C.