Don't Want Cataracts? Eat More Kale!


Don't Want cataracts? Eat More Kale!

Cataracts are a common eye problem in older adults. While they can be treated, prevention of cataracts would certainly reduce health care costs and could improve quality of life for many older people. A number of dietary antioxidants have been examined as possible preventive agents, including vitamin C, vitamin A, and various carotenoids.

Researchers recently examined the association between carotenoid intake and cataract removal in more than 77,000 women and 36,000 men. Carotenoids are substances like beta-carotene which are found in foods. After controlling for factors like age and smoking, subjects with the highest intakes of two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, had the lowest risk of having had cataracts removed. Women with the highest intakes of these carotenoids had a 22% lower risk of requiring cataract removal compared with those who had the lowest intakes of these carotenoids; men had a 19% lower risk. Among specific foods, for women, spinach and kale were associated with decreased risk of cataracts; for men, broccoli and spinach were associated with decreased risk.

The authors recommend daily use of vegetables and fruits high in carotenoids. Foods which are especially high in lutein and zeaxanthin include kale, collard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens, beet greens, okra, and romaine lettuce.

The Vegetarian Resource Group, Inc.


By Reed Mangels

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