Healthy Diet Decreases Risk for Cataract Formation

It thrills me that even medical research now demonstrates the benefits of a healthy diet. Somehow doctors sometimes have a hard time believing common sense things about health until it’s “proven” through research.


So it’s such a delight to read the medical literature about the benefits of a healthy diet and how certain foods help specific disease processes.


For instance, researchers analyzed the dietary intake of women from 1994 to 1998 in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS) study which was a sub set of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). These women were 50 to 79 years old. They filled out a food questionnaire.


Four to seven years later they re-evaluated them for the development of cataracts.


“From May 1, 2001, to January 31, 2004, a total of 1808 women participating in CARED were evaluated for nuclear cataract, based on slit-lamp photographs and self-reports of cataract extractions. Nuclear cataract in at least 1 eye occurred in 736 women (41%).”


Of the many risk factors studied eating a diet at or above the recommended levels for vegetables, fruits, grains, milk, meat (or beans, fish, or eggs) and below recommended levels for fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium scored the highest in preventing the development of cataracts.


Stopping smoking and preventing or reversing obesity were the other factors that a person could modify to reduce their risk of developing cataracts.


However, taking multivitamins and high-dose antioxidants were not related to nuclear cataracts. Very interesting. Perhaps the antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin that feed the eyes so well are much more effective when eaten in food so the cells receive the whole complex complement of nutrients that comes in healthy food.


That’s all good news. Simply corroborates what we have all know for years about the health building effects of a healthy diet.


Arch Ophthalmol. 2010;128:738-749. Abstract


Dr. Jo

About Dr. Jo

Dr. JoDr. Jo delights in sharing the message of health. She believes disease is optional if you know how to take care of yourself. And she’s a great coach to help you reverse or prevent disease.

So she writes this blog to keep you up to date with information that may undermine your health if you are not aware of it. She also provides tips on healthy living, how to reverse degenerative diseases, delicious recipes, and ways to enjoyably change your habits to healthy ones.

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2 Comments On “Healthy Diet Decreases Risk for Cataract Formation”

Mouna Wilson

Mouna Wilson

22 February 2013

I was recently told by an eye doctor that I had small cataracts in my eyes and to come back in a year. Are you saying that the size of the cataracts now could stabilize based on diet? (Both my
grandmother and my mother had cataract surgery in their 80’s. They both had 20/20 vision after the surgery. Because they had both worn glasses for most of their lives–as have I–they continued wearing their glasses because they were addicted to them in some strange way.)

Thank you for this important information.

Mouna Wilson

Dr Jo

Dr Jo

23 February 2013

Glad that this information is helpful for you. The researchers found that a healthy diet was important in preventing cataracts for this population of people. Of course, we cannot predict the development of cataracts in any one individual because we are all unique. But I would certainly follow a very healthy diet anyway, not only because of avoiding cataracts, but also for all the healthy effects on the rest of the body.
Dr. Jo

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