Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cataracts LESS LIKELY in those who eat their veggies

Hello everyone,

When I was a young lad, my mom would ALWAYS tell me to eat my vegetables. I'm certain that I wasn't the only one who has received this constant advice. However, I was notorious for shunning whatever vegetable I was served. Whether it was green beans or a medley of corn, carrots and lima beans (ugh!), the vegetable portion always ended up as a cold pile of food at the edge of my plate, at the furthermost position from my mouth.

I guess my mom was onto something. There's a report on WebMD that says "people who eat meat may be at increased risk of developing cataracts compared to vegetarians," according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

For the study, they divided the people into groups according to how much meat they ate.

Highest meat consumption: 3.5 ounces or more a day
Mid-range meat consumption: 1.7 to 3.4 ounces a day
Low-meat consumption: less than 1.7 ounces a day
Fish eaters: Those who ate fish but not meat
Vegetarians: Those who did not eat meat or fish but did eat dairy products and/or eggs
Vegans: Those who did not eat meat, fish, dairy products, or eggs.

And the results? The researchers found that "mid-range meat eaters had a decreased cataract risk of 4%, low-meat eaters 15%, fish eaters 21%, vegetarians 30%, and vegans 40%."

When I see a patient that has a cataract and I bring it to their attention, some patients ask if there's anything they could do about it. If you weren't aware, other risk factors for increasing the risk of developing cataracts include smoking, diabetes and UV exposure. Now, I would mention eat more vegetables/cut out red meats to the list.

Now that I'm older, I'm much better at eating vegetables. But lima beans are still UGH!

Dr. Weaver

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