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Diet and our Eyesight

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Oxidative stress is a result of an imbalance between destructive free radicals and antioxidants that keep the free radicals in check.

Free radicals damage the body by removing electrons from normal healthy cells of organs and tissues. We call this process Oxidation.{{more}}

Proteins and fats are affected by oxidation causing the lens of the eye to become cloudy, resulting in the formation of cataracts and some forms of cancer.

Eating healthy foods, especially those containing antioxidants, may help slow down this process of oxidation.

Exposure to chemicals or pollution, radiation, smoking and eating unhealthy foods can produce free radicals. In some cases, our normal daily metabolism can produce free radicals, meaning that even people who are not exposed to contaminants need antioxidants found in the healthy foods we eat.

Antioxidants include some phytochemicals and vitamins that can be found in our food. In some studies, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Lutein are examples of antioxidants that may possibly reduce the risk of cataracts. These antioxidants are easily obtained from eating a balanced diet consisting of plentiful fruits and dark or colourful vegetables. The compounds that give vegetables and fruits their colors contain the antioxidants that work to keep us healthy.

Eat at least two to three servings of whole grains daily, five to eight servings of vegetables and fruits daily, and at least two servings of fish weekly. The total calories consumed should be just enough to keep you at a healthy weight, based on your individual activity level and metabolism. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of antioxidants, folic acid and calcium.

Avoid eating processed foods, fried foods,foods high in sodium and sugary foods. Also cut down on salt intake, as a study by researchers in Australia indicates that it may increase the risk of cataracts. New research also suggests that eating a lot of white breads, pastries, soft drinks, and pasta may have the potential to increase one’s odds of developing cataracts or speeding up its progression. Of course, more research has to be done in this area.

Cutting down on soft drinks, greasy snacks, fast foods and desserts will help not only your vision but your overall health. Your reward will be both healthy vision and a healthy body.