When it comes to senior nutrition, everyone knows that eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables can help with weight management and maintain health. New research has revealed that seniors who eat a diet rich in antioxidants may in fact have a reduced risk of developing cataracts.
Only over the past few decades have doctors been able to understand the health benefits of antioxidants. The main function of antioxidants in terms of health has to do with their ability to remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are harmful chemicals found in food and the air. The body also creates some free radicals as a natural byproduct of turning food into energy. They are harmful because they tend to damage cells and genetic material, and have been linked to cancer.
Antioxidants are the fighters against free radicals, turning them into harmless substances and protecting our cells from damage. Until recently, studies have found mixed results as to whether antioxidants are helpful in preventing disease. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, trials have shown that taking vitamins C and E, beta-carotene or other antioxidants provide little protection from heart disease, cancer and other chronic conditions.
In a Swedish study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association, it was found that women who ate a diet rich in antioxidants had a lower risk of developing cataracts. The study, which measured the diets of 30,000 women between the ages of 39 and 83, discovered the risk was lowered by as much as 13 percent among those with the highest intake of antioxidants.
The best sources for the antioxidants lycopene and vitamins C, E and A were brightly colored fruits and vegetables including oranges, tomatoes, berries and dark-green vegetables. The study differed from others in the past that have focused on individual antioxidants from food and supplements. The new research instead monitored the total consumption of antioxidants in an individual's diet and measured how the nutrients worked together to benefit the body.
According to the National Eye Institute, cataracts are one of the most common causes of vision loss and occurs as a part of aging. In simple terms, cataracts are a clouding of the eye that causes vision loss. As many as 22 million people are affected by cataracts, the American Academy of Ophthalmology found. Fortunately, there is a fairly simple surgery that corrects clouded vision for most people. However, having proper senior nutrition filled with nutrients and antioxidants may help prevent cataracts all together.
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