Cataracts can be prevented, postponed and even reversed. The following program will help you accomplish it.
Drink lots of water. Drink 8 to 10 glasses a day to maintain the flow of nutrients to the lens and the release of wastes and toxins from tissues.
Protein. Emphasize fish.
Whole grains. Eat brown rice and whole grains instead of refined grains such as white bread and pasta.
Vegetables. Eat lots of vegetables, especially the green leafy type.
Fruit. Eat less fruit in general. Some fruits have a lot of sugar.
Eliminate sugar from your diet. Blood sugar interferes with the ability of the lens to pump out excess fluid from the eye and maintain its clarity. Diabetics are at three to four times the risk for cataracts. Preventing cataracts is especially important for diabetics because diabetic retinopathy can accelerate for six months after cataract surgery.
All types of sugars, not just white sugar can interfere with the ability of the lens to keep itself clear. Even milk sugar, or lactose, found in dairy products can contribute to cataracts, destroying glutathione and vitamin C levels in the lens.
Eat foods high in antioxidants. Eat foods high in beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and foods high in sulfur. These substances are called antioxidants and most of the nutritional components of cataract prevention and reversal are related to boosting antioxidant defenses.
Antioxidants are one of the most important ways to combat free radicals, which are a major cause of cataract formation. A good diet, supplemented with antioxidant vitamins and minerals, can help prevent oxidation.
Foods high in antioxidants include garlic, onions, beans, yellow and orange vegetables, spinach and other green, leafy vegetables, celery, seaweed, apples, carrots, tomatoes, and oranges.
Eliminate foods you are allergic to. Some foods, particularly dairy products, wheat and soy foods can exacerbate eye problems by causing sinus congestion which can impair lymph and blood drainage from the area around the eyes. When lymph and blood can’t flow in and out of the eyes, nutrients don’t reach the eyes and toxins aren’t eliminated.
If you have been suffering from sinus congestion, try avoiding the above mentioned foods for a month to see whether you are less congested. Then re-introduce them one at a time to help you identify your specific problem foods.
Vitamins and minerals
Taking a good multivitamin is an important step in any program directed to prevent cataracts. The following are some of the essential nutrients for treating cataracts:
Vitamin C – This vitamin is the king of antioxidants. It has long been known that vitamin C can both prevent and heal cataracts. In addition to its other benefits, vitamin C can reverse the negative effects of sugar on cataract formation.
The normal, healthy lens contains a higher level of vitamin C than any other organ except the adrenal glands. However, when cataracts are forming, the vitamin C level is very low and sometimes nonexistent. Similarly, the vitamin C level in the aqueous humor which supplies nutrition to the lens is also low when cataracts are forming.
This reduction of vitamin C is due both to the decrease ability of the eyes to secrete vitamin C into the aqueous humor as well as to the general deficiency of vitamin C in the body when cataracts are forming.
Vitamin A and Beta-carotene – Vitamin A and its precursor, beta-carotene, are particular important for eye health. People with low levels of beta-carotene stand seven times the risk of contracting cataracts as those with high levels.
Beta-carotene, like vitamin C, also may act as a light filter for the eyes, protecting against photo-oxidation of the lens. Although vitamin A can be toxic in excess, there is no risk of toxicity from beta-carotene.
Bioflavonoids – Bioflavonoids, such as quercetin and rutin, are important antioxidants that work in synergy with vitamin C. They need each other’s presence to work efficiently. Quercetin seems to be the most effective in the prevention of cataracts.
Vitamin B complex – The B vitamins work synergistically. Excess of one B vitamin can cause a deficiency of another. Health authorities recommend that you take vitamin complex that contains a minimum daily dose of 100 to 150 mg of each vitamin.
Calcium – A diet deficient in calcium can lead to the formation of cataracts.
Chromium – Chromium helps regulate blood sugar and improves blood circulation. Patients with cataracts have been found to have only about 40 percent of the chromium they need.
Copper and zinc – People with cataracts are almost always deficient in copper and zinc, two minerals that work together in the prevention and treatment of cataracts. Copper stimulates the production of superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant enzyme, but only when zinc in present in adequate amounts.
Zinc deficiency can cause cataracts in humans and animals. Zinc makes sure that the body can absorb vitamin A.
Vitamin E– A low level of vitamin E, like a low level of beta-carotene, also increases cataract risk because it does not protects against photo-oxidation. A daily dose of 800 I.U. has been shown to reduce the risk of cataract by up to 56 percent.
Manganese – Along with copper and zinc, manganese is also involved in the production of superoxide dismutase.
Magnesium – Magnesium helps regulate sugar levels and proper nerve function, as well as vitamin B6 metabolism.
Selenium – Selenium boosts vitamin E and also helps protect the lens from mercury damage.
As you can see, there are several steps you can take to reduce to a minimum your risk for cataracts. A good multivitamin can go a long way in this prevention. Whether or not you have cataracts at this point, it will be a good idea to include a good multivitamin in your daily routine.