Could Skipping Meat Lessen Your Cataract Risk?

We all know eating more vegetables is a key component of good health, but eating more vegetables and less meat would be linked to a lower risk of cataracts. A Reuters Health article this week reports on a British study the found a 30-40 percent lower cataract risk among people who don’t eat meat. According to the article, ‘In a large dietary survey that followed people for as long as 15 years, researchers found that about three in 50 meat eaters had cataracts, compared to about two in 50 vegans and vegetarians.” The article goes on to point out that people shouldn’t necessarily stop eating meat simply to avoid getting cataracts. It could be the nutrients in plant foods do help lower the risk of cataracts or it could be that people who eat little to no meat have generally healthy lifestyles. Doctors don’t know the exact cause of cataracts, although smoking and diabetes may be risk factors. Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye clouds over and vision is blurred and are quite common among the older population. In fact, more than half of all Americans will have a cataract or have cataract surgery by age 80. The full study is published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  

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