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Healthy Eyes: Vitamin C May Cut Risks of Cataracts

Healthy Eyes: Vitamin C May Cut Risks of Cataracts

Posted By || 2-Aug-2016

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.

In a 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.

Categories: General

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