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Vision Health: What You Eat Could Hurt You

Vision Health: What You Eat Could Hurt You

While a healthy diet can improve eye health, new research suggests that a poor diet can impact it as well.

You’ve probably heard that certain foods can positively impact your vision. Vegetables, like carrots, protect our sight by contributing a source of beta carotene. While a healthy diet can improve eye health, new research suggests that a poor diet can impact it as well. A sustained unhealthy eating style can cause vision problems. Keep reading to get ahead of vision loss and learn how to keep your eyes sharp. 

The American Diet

The Standard American Diet (SAD), referred to as the Western Diet, describes how most Americans eat. This diet is filled with foods like white flour, meat, sugar and oil. We generally view SAD foods as unhealthy. Their consumption contributes to weight gain and certain chronic disease states, including heart disease and diabetes. New research suggests that an unhealthy diet could also result in vision problems.

Diet and Vision

As recently as 2019, public health researchers discovered a relationship between diet and development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD affects about 11 million people in the U.S. and is the leading cause of vision loss among Americans over 50. AMD is an eye disease that develops when the central portion of the retina, the macula, wears and breaks down over time. The retina consists of light-sensing tissue at the back of the eye. In part, AMD is genetic, but it can also develop from smoking, high cholesterol and heart disease.

In a new study, researchers had participants recount their usual diets using a food frequency questionnaire. They also took photographs of participants’ eyes to determine if they suffered from AMD. What researchers found was a relationship between eating “Western” foods and the development of late AMD. We cannot say that unhealthy eating causes late AMD, but seemingly it doesn’t help. Participants who ate a healthy diet were not at a higher risk of developing AMD.

Can I Prevent AMD?

It may not be possible to completely eliminate your risk of AMD, but you can incorporate dietary changes that support a healthy lifestyle and strong eyes! Here are some quick tips.

1.     Get active: Engage in regular activity, exercise and move around.

2.     Know your numbers: Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

3.     Incorporate good fats: Eat healthy foods, including leafy green vegetables, fish, and beneficial fats, such as nuts, seeds, and olive oil.

4.     Get help: Reach out to Cederquist Medical Wellness Center. Our team of experts are ready to support your health goals. 

Help is Available If you want help breaking away from the Western Diet, we are here to help. At Cederquist Medical Wellness Center, our team of providers works with you to develop a personalized program tailored to your dietary needs. We can help you maintain a healthy, filling diet while losing weight. If you are interested in improving your nutrition status, give us a call. Contact (239) 249-3647 to schedule an appointment.

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