Looking to prevent cataracts from affecting your sight? Cataracts cause loss of vision in many older people, but a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that certain nutrients, especially vitamin C and carotenoids, may protect you from developing them.
Researchers studied almost 500 women who were between 53 and 73, none of whom had cataracts at the start of the study. For 13 to 15 years, the women provided information about the nutrients and foods they consumed. They also underwent regular eye exams to determine if they were developing cataracts.
Women younger than 60 years old who consumed 362 milligrams or more of vitamin C daily had a 57% lower risk of developing cataracts than women who consumed 140 milligrams a day or less. (The Recommended Daily Intake for vitamin C is only 60 milligrams for both men and women.) In addition, women who used vitamin C supplements for 10 years or more had a 60% reduced risk of developing cataracts when compared to women who didn't take vitamin C supplements. Carotenoids, pigments that give color to foods and fight diseases, were also found to reduce the risk of a certain type of cataracts in women who had never smoked.
If you want to include vitamin C-rich foods in your diet, try fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, green peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes and canteloupe. Foods rich in carotenoids include sweet potatoes, carrots and tomatoes.
Sources: Taylor A, Jacques PF, Chylack LT Jr, Hankinson SE, Khu PM, Rogers G, Friend J, Tung W, Wolfe JK, Padhye N, Willett WC. Long-term intake of vitamins and carotenoids and odds of early age-related cortical and posterior subcapsular lens opacities. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2002, Vol. 75, No. 3, p. 540-549.