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Antioxidant-Rich Diet Linked to Lower Risk of Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye lens that leads to a decrease in vision. The most common form are age related cataracts that appear later in life. A recent study has found that eating a diet rich in antioxidants may help lower the risk of cataracts for women.

Participants in the study included 30,607 women between the ages of 49 and 83 who participated in the Swedish Mammography Cohort study. The researchers followed them for an average of 7.7 years. Food frequency questionnaires were administered to determine the total antioxidant capacity (TAC) of the food the women were consuming.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the women who consumed the highest number of antioxidants were 13% less likely to develop cataracts than those who consumed the least.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 26, 2013, in JAMA Opthalmology.

Antioxidants are essential for good health because they combat free radicals. Free radicals break down cells in your body and can lead to heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. The production of free-radicals can be increased as a result of smoking, pollution, alcohol, infection and stress.

The best way to increase your intake of all of these essential nutrients is through consuming a varied, healthy diet with high levels of fruits and vegetables. Foods that are high in antioxidants and beneficial to eye health include blueberries, carrots, grapes, tomatoes, garlic, zucchini and fish.

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