Cataracts Linked to Diet and Lifestyle Choices

Are cataracts just an inevitable part of getting older?  There is a lot of scientific research that indicates your diet and lifestyle choices actually have a lot to do with your risk of developing cataracts.

Smoking

Another study points to cigarettes as being a major cause of cataracts.  In fact, smoking is implicated as the cause 20% of all cataracts cases.  Men who smoke more than a pack a day increase their risk for cataracts by 205%!  For female smokers, that risk increases a still substantial 63%.

Diet

Vegetarians are less likely to get cataracts, according to British researchers. Because we know that cataract formation is often related to nutrition, scientists decided to study whether eating meat was related to whether one develops cataracts. A study of nearly 28,000 non-diabetic people over age forty determined that one’s risk of cataracts could be tracked based on diet.  Meat eaters were most likely to develop the eye condition followed by those who ate fish but not meat, and then vegetarians.  Vegans were the least likely to develop cataracts.  Source:  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Vitamin & Mineral Rich Diet

Researchers have determined that  women who eat a healthy vitamin- and mineral-rich diet may have a lower risk of developing  “nuclear” cataract – cataracts that affect the central part of the lens.  This is most prevalent type of cataract in the United States.  Risk of developing this type is greater as we age. They found in almost 2000 women that 41% had cataracts or had had cataracts removed – that the women with no cataracts had a better overall diet than those who did have a cataract history. Published: June, 2010, Archives of Ophthalmology.

Glutathione

One important nutritional compound to lower the risk cataracts is glutathione which helps prevent the free radical damage that can lead to cataract formation. Glutathione is essential to the creation of tissue enzymes and is crucial to the prevention of free radical damage. Studies have shown that people who have cataracts have 80% less glutathione in their eyes than they need. Natural sources of glutathione include eggs, broccoli, avocados, garlic, onions

Sugar

One study indicates that sugar of all kinds can impinge upon the eye’s ability to keep the lens clear.