You may have heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But did you
know that an orange a day can also keep cataracts at bay? Research shows
that vitamin C has many benefits for the body. From helping prevent immune
deficiencies to cutting risks of cardiovascular disease, vitamin C is
safe and powerful. Known as an ascorbic acid, the powerful antioxidant
can also play a key role in reducing risks of cataracts.
According to the
National Eye Institute, more than half of Americans have cataracts or have had cataract surgery
by the age 80. As such, cataract removal surgery is one of the most common
procedures performed in the United States. The
World Health Organization credits cataracts as the leading cause of blindness around the world.
Given its prevalence, you may wonder how a bowl of fruit can help prevent
the disease. We have the answers for you.
Vitamin C & the Risk of Cataracts
The eye lens consists primarily of water and protein. Cataracts occur when
the protein builds up in the lens, causing vision to cloud. As we age,
we become more susceptible to cataracts. However, vitamin C has healing
properties that can help protect against cataract progression. The antioxidants
in the nutrient helps reduce damage that is caused by free radicals. Overtime,
if left uninhibited, the free radicals can cause damage that accelerate aging.
Oxidative stress also contributes to free radical damage. However, vitamin
C is known to combat oxidative stress. It also helps keep nutrients in
the eye lens that prevent oxidization, which causes the clouding.
study published in Ophthalmology, researchers in the U.K. examined 1,000 female
twins around the age of 60. One group ate a diet high in vitamin C, while
the other group did not. Looking at their subjects over the course of
10 years, researchers found those who regularly received high amounts
of vitamin c were one third less likely to experience cataract progression.
In addition to preventing cataracts, vitamin C is known to help reduce
age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The
American Optometric Association stated that those who took 500 mg of vitamin C slowed the progression
of AMD by 25%.
Getting Enough Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient, meaning the body does not store
it. As such, you constantly need to eat foods rich in the vitamin. Luckily,
many fruits and vegetables consist of the nutrient. The National Institute
of Health suggests that men should consume an average of 90 mg of vitamin
C a day, while women should consume approximately 75 mg.
When individuals think of vitamin C, they often think of oranges. Though
they are not wrong, other foods have higher concentration of the nutrient.
Good sources of vitamin C include:
- Red peppers (238 mg / one cup serving)
- Strawberries (86 mg / one cup serving)
- Green peppers (133 mg / one cup serving)
- Broccoli (82 mg / one cup serving)
Your eyes are pivotal and should be protected as you age. Eat foods rich
in vitamin C to help boost eye health and promote healthier aging. If
fruits and vegetables are not enough, you can take vitamin supplements
to obtain the extra nutrients. You should always consult your doctor or
a medical professional before adding supplements to your diet if you are
on any medications or have certain health conditions.