What’s your impression of cataracts? If you assume that they are an inevitable part of aging, it’s time to see cataracts in a different light. Thankfully, there are choices you can make right now to provide a better vision for the future.
A Closer Look at Cataracts
Cataracts usually develop over many years. They begin because of oxidation, the process of free radicals stealing electrons from normal, healthy cells. Oxidative damage causes the proteins in the lens of the eye to clump together and cloud an area of the lens. The clouding from this buildup blocks light and ultimately impairs vision. While cataracts can happen for a variety of reasons including things like an eye injury, the majority come through aging. Americans between the ages of 65 to 74 are the most likely to develop cataracts while half of all people over 75 developing this mysterious eye malady. With more than three million Americans getting cataract surgery each year, people are looking for answers. Research shows that the nutritional choices we make today can have an impact on our likelihood of developing cataracts as we grow older.
Seeing the Importance of Antioxidants
Since oxidation contributes to cataracts, it’s important to prevent or counteract this process with antioxidants. The first line of defense is to make sure you are getting enough lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamins A, C, and E. Eating a diet rich in these vitamins and phytochemicals is a great first step to avoid future cataracts. That includes foods like carrots, eggs, sweet corn, red and yellow peppers, broccoli, parsley, basil, berries, avocado, tomatoes, asparagus, and sweet potatoes. Dark, leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are also important. However, with the American Academy of Ophthalmology reporting that more than 24 million Americans over the age of 40 suffer from cataracts and with the number growing higher with age, taking vision health even further seems to be a wise idea.
Extra Nutrient Insights
Here are two significant additional steps you can take to avoid cataracts. First, incorporate grape seed extract into your daily routine. This is an excellent nutrient for eye health because it contains potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). Research published in the journal Molecular Vision reported that the proanthocyanidins in grape seed protected the epithelial cells in the human lens from free-radical damage. A cell study at the College of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University found that OPCs inhibit signals caused by stress that can damage eye lens cells and allow for cataract formation. When choosing a grape seed, absorbability is of the utmost importance. Look for a high-OPC French grape seed extract standardized for 80 percent oligomeric proanthocyanidins that are up to 99 percent absorbable and tannin-free.
Another influential, yet sometimes overlooked eye nutrient is mesoglycan. This powerhouse is known for providing the necessary components (called glycosaminoglycans, or GAGs) that build the walls of blood vessels and arteries. Along with supporting all the blood vessels of the body, including those in the heart, brain, and legs, mesoglycan is an excellent way to support the delicate blood vessels in the eye—strengthening the fight against cataracts. Choosing a mesoglycan product from a porcine source is recommended to ensure it is bioidentical to the same components of the body.
Start now to prevent cataracts in the future. Following these recommendations will allow you to see the difference nutrients can make in your eye health for years to come.