Here’s another reason to eat your fruits and vegetables: You may reduce your risk of vision loss from cataract.
Cataracts that cloud the lenses of the eye develop naturally with age, but a new study suggests diet may play a greater role than genetics in their progression.
Researchers had about 1,000 pairs of female twins in Britain fill out detailed food questionnaires that tracked their nutrient intake. Their mean age was just over 60.
Participants underwent digital imaging of the eye to measure the progression. Researchers found that women who consumed diets rich in vitamin C and who ate about two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables a day had a 20 per cent lower risk than those who ate a less nutrient-rich diet.
Ten years later, the scientists followed up with 324 of the twin pairs and found that those who had reported consuming more vitamin C in their diet — at least twice the recommended dietary allowance of 75mg a day for women (the RDA for adult men is 90mg) — had a 33 per cent lower risk of their cataracts progressing than those who got less vitamin C.
Researchers concluded that genetic factors account for about 35 per cent of the difference in cataract progression, while environmental factors like diet account for 65 per cent. “We found no beneficial effect from supplements, only from the vitamin C in the diet,” says Dr Christopher Hammond, an author of the study, published in Ophthalmology. Foods high in vitamin C include oranges, cantaloupe, kiwi, broccoli and dark leafy greens.