Written By: Kierstan Boyd Reviewed By: Brenda Pagan-Duran MD AAO.org
Many Americans don’t eat enough fresh vegetables and fruits. Most of us know that these foods are important for avoiding heart disease, stroke and cancer. But did you know that regularly enjoying a piece of fruit and a side of vegetables can help prevent vision loss from cataracts?
Studies from the United States, Japan and Sweden show that a diet rich in foods with substances called antioxidants may reduce your risk of developing cataracts.
Antioxidants protect our cells from damage caused by molecules called free radicals. That damage is called oxidation.
Free radicals in our bodies may come from:
- the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays,
- tobacco smoke,
- pollution, and
- the body’s normal process of using energy.
Oxidation can lead to cataracts by causing changes to fats and proteins in the eye’s lens, making the lens cloudy.
Antioxidants help slow down or prevent free radical damage. Antioxidants include vitamins C and E, certain substances in plants called flavonoids, and some minerals like selenium.
While you can take antioxidant supplements in the form of daily pills or capsules, these beneficial vitamins and minerals are best when they come from a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Load up on fresh veggies and delicious fruits, knowing you are doing your eyes a favor.