Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness. It can be caused by one or more factors, one of which is heredity and there is no known way to prevent it. However, a proper diet can help lower the risk of cataracts. To coincide with Cataract Awareness Month, local optometrist and eye care center Eyes on Norbeck shares how a change in your diet can help lower the risk of cataracts.
Foods Rich In Antioxidants
Studies have shown that the risk of cataracts can be reduced by adding more antioxidant-rich foods in your diet. Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation in the body. Oxidation produces free radicals that cause reactions that lead to cell damage, which causes illnesses such as heart disease and cataracts. Antioxidants produced by the human body can be supplemented by those found in certain types of food.
It’s important to note that the human body needs free radicals. The immune system, for example, needs it to fight infection. Antioxidants help keep free radicals in check, but not eliminate them from the body. This balance is essential because too many free radicals can result in illnesses, while too many antioxidants can increase the risk of cancer.
Antioxidants and Cataracts
Changing your diet to add antioxidant-rich foods, along with keeping up with your eye exam appointments, can help lower the risk of cataracts. The following are some of the key vitamins and nutrients that function as antioxidants, and the foods that contain them:
- Lutein and zeaxanthin can help reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases. These nutrients can be found in dark green leafy vegetables, as well as in broccoli, persimmons, and tangerines.
- Ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, can help lower the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Strawberries, tomatoes, and citrus fruits like grapefruit, lemon, and orange are good sources of ascorbic acid.
- Vitamin E is a well-known antioxidant. Vegetable oils, nuts, and wheat germ are good natural sources. You can also take multivitamins that include vitamin E as a supplement.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold-water fish like tuna and salmon. In addition to lowering the risk of cataracts, omega-3 fatty acids can also help improve retinal function and visual development in young children.
Eyes on Norbeck is your leading provider of eyeglasses and eye care services. Give us a call at (301) 690-9177 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve customers in Potomac, MD, and the surrounding communities.