Eye Matters
January 15, 2013

Diet and Health Update

Gaining weight due to a lack of exercise and poor dietary habits can increase one’s risk of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. Obesity and inactivity have also been shown to be risk factors for age related macular degeneration, and indirectly for Glaucoma and Cataracts.{{more}}

To preserve vision and improve one’s quality of life, it is imperative to increase physical activity and maintain a well-balanced diet. Antioxidants destroy free radicals and serve to protect tissue from destructive oxidative processes. Current research focuses on the protective role of antioxidants and some micronutrients.

Some examples of antioxidants and micronutrients are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Coenzyme Q, Beta-carotene(a precursor of vitamin A), Carotenoids (especially lutein and zeaxanthin), Alpha-lipoic acid, Selenium and Zinc.

To keep the eyes healthy, lead an active lifestyle, take nutritional supplements and follow the diet recommendations below:

1. A well-balanced diet should comprise approximately 50 – 60 per cent complex carbohydrates

20 – 25 per cent protein and 20 – 25 per cent fats (predominantly unsaturated fats that contain omega-3 fatty acids).

2. Eat less saturated fat.

3. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

4. Reduce your consumption of dairy products and fatty meats.

5. Fast foods contain high levels of harmful saturated fats and trans-fatty acids. Avoid them.

6. Avoid sweets, soft drinks, and other foods that contain high levels of refined sugars.

7. Drink at least 10 glasses of water daily.

8. As mentioned before, supplement your diet with multi-vitamins to ensure you are getting the necessary micronutrients needed for healthy vision.

Anything that can affect the health of the cardiovascular system always has the potential for causing damage to our eyes. Arteriosclerosis can block the supply of blood to the eye, resulting in sudden loss of vision. Lack of exercise and Type 2 diabetes due to poor dietary habits can lead to diabetic eye disease (retinopathy) and vision loss.

More than ever before research confirms the connection between diet and eye health:

o One study demonstrated that the vegetable fats found in many snacks and in French fries are associated with a higher risk of age-related macular degeneration. People whose diets were high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oils, and low in vegetable fats appeared to have a lower than normal risk of AMD.

o In a study of 17,000 male physicians, researchers found that those with abdominal fat were 31% more likely to develop cataracts than those without “love handles”.

Here are some tips to include in your weight loss plan:

It is best to lose weight slowly, about one to two pounds per week. To do that one should know one’s resting caloric requirement, i.e. the number of calories you burn without additional exercise. The rule of thumb here is to multiply your weight in pounds by ten. So if for example you are two hundred pounds, you will maintain that 200 pounds by eating 2000 calories per day. So if you want to lose half to one pound a week, you should eat five hundred calories less per day. This means that you either eat 500 less per day or you burn 500 per day by exercising or you combine both diet and exercise.

Remember to talk to your doctor if you need more clarification.

That is it for this week…..have a great weekend.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist

at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us
Send questions to: Beachmont@gmail.com

Tel: 784 456-1210