ANTIOXIDANTS & CATARACTS

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Antioxidants may help keep cataracts from getting worse, but only slightly, says a new study from the U.S. and Britain. People with early-stage cataracts got either a placebo or a daily antioxidant supplement with beta-carotene (18 mg, or 30,000 IU), vitamin C (750 mg), and vitamin E (600 IU). After three years, the antioxidant-takers had slightly less severe cataracts than the placebo group, though the cataracts in both groups got worse.

What to do: Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables like collards, kale, spinach, and broccoli. They're high in lutein, a carotenoid that may forestall cataracts. So far, there isn't enough evidence that taking antioxidant supplements can prevent cataracts.

Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 9: 49, 2002.

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