Several studies have been proving that a healthy diet rich with antioxidants and certain vitamins can shift the concerns of cataract, from preventing its formation to even help curb its spreading in the eye
Cataract is a condition in the eye wherein the eye’s natural lens tends to form a cloudy layer that results in blurring of the vision to even completely going blind as it progresses with time. It is a kind of a vision disorder that results from the lens in the eye becoming progressively opaque. To put it simply, a person with cataract may experience a blur, reduction or glare in vision.
Although there are various types of cataract, but in most cases it is advised and a hugely popular treatment now is through surgery that involves the removal of the clouded layer and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). This treatment helps the affected patient restore his or her visibility. Even so, in extreme cases, cataract may very well lead to blindness as well. Currently, age related cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness across the globe.
With the ever evolving studies and research, it is also possible to prevent and even stop the formation of the cataract completely through a healthy diet that is meant to boost the vision and support it from its degradation with time.
What causes cataracts?
Before we delve in depth to the subject of understanding the importance of a healthy diet in preventing cataracts in an individual, let’s take a look at the cause and how it ascends to worsen the situation. Cataract is very common and is usually affect individuals in their forties and tends to progress gradually, thus there will be plenty of symptoms to identify the onset.
While the exact cause of cataracts is not known, experts believe that oxidative stress leads to the damage of certain enzymes and proteins in the eye’s natural lens which in turn causes its opacity to increase or simply a rise in blurred vision. Oxidation affects proteins and fats in the lens of an eye, and it is a cumulative result of these factors that cause the lens to become opaque and cloudy. Ultimately, this condition progresses to form cataract.
How can a healthy diet help?
Debatable, yet studies have shown a considerable prevention to even a delay in formation of cataract through a platter consisting of healthy foods. Foods, particularly those containing antioxidants, helps repress free radical damage and slow down the process of ageing to quite an extent. Even once cataract sets in, those eating a nutritive diet can delay its progression considerably.
But just because eating healthy is a correct way, it need not always be tasteless as one conceives it to be naturally. Including colour in your food by way of variety from fruits to vegetables can make it easier to adapt for the prevention of cataract progression in the eye.
Antioxidant vitamins and phytochemicals that are extensively found in fruits and vegetables are known to be useful in reducing the risk of cataracts. These include vitamins A, C and E, lutein and zeaxanthin. For non-vegetarians, fish is considered to be a great source of eye vitamins that can help combat the progression of cataracts. Fishes high in omega-3 fatty acids are particularly good for those looking to include foods that help slow down the advancement of cataract.
What should you eat?
A healthy diet guarantees good nutrition to eyes, and this furthers the chances of cataract prevention. A healthy diet to reduce the formation and development of cataract comprises of five to nine servings of fruits as well as vegetables on a daily basis. In addition to the vegetables and fruits intake, one should include at least three servings of 100 percent whole grains each day and up to two servings of fish in every week.
To stack up vitamin C for healthy eyes include food sources like oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, green peppers, tomatoes, papaya, etc. in your daily diet. Vitamin E, another helpful nutrient to slow down the progression of cataract, is not so easily found in fruits and vegetables. But, wheat germ seeds, sunflower oils and even almonds are a great source of this nutrient. So remember to include almonds and other nuts in your daily diet. Dark green fruits and vegetables are also a great source of antioxidants for the eye. Loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, these food items are also rich in folic acid and calcium that contribute majorly to increase the overall immunity of the body.
Even shifting to healthy beverages like green tea can be a great option to increase the amount of antioxidants in your daily cataract prevention diet.
Cataract prevention through nutrition does not mean restricting your choices to a vegetarian diet. You can also include some non-vegetarian options in your diet. For instance, fishes rich with omega-3 fatty acids are a great choice to improve the immunity of the eye to slow down progression of cataract. Healthy nutrients can also be found in cold-water fishes like sardines, salmon, tuna and herring. Depending on your tastes and preferences, you can include this in your diet.
What you need to avoid?
Since cataract is a result of oxidative stress in the eye, eating foods rich in antioxidants will help combat the problem effectively. But there are also certain foods that you must avoid as part of your cataract prevention diet regimen.
When you are following a cataract prevention diet, you should aim to gradually cut down on the number of calories that you consume. The reduction does not indicate starvation but you will need to work out a detailed plan to include the good things and cut down the calories by approximately 20 to 40 percent.
First things first, cut out on the fried foods, sugary items and other delicacies loaded with fats. Apart from your eyes, these food items are bad for your body as well since they pave way for obesity and related health disorders.
Initially, the shift may seem difficult but once you get used to the delicious taste of fresh foods and veggies, it becomes a healthy habit that is likely to reward you with a healthy and cataract-free vision for a lifetime.
What’s more is that this diet goes a long way in improving the overall health of your body. For instance, many of the foods that you consume to slow down the progress of cataract in the eye are a great choice to improve the immunity of the body as well.
However, before indulging in any type of cataract prevention diet, it is important to bear in mind that the total calories consumed should be just enough to keep you at a healthy weight. Therefore, it is best advised to consult an ophthalmologist and a nutrition expert to accordingly work out the diet plan that best suits your activity level as well as metabolism.