January 20, 2012
Dr. Robert J. Rowen
Health Alert E-Mail
Are you worried about cataracts? Most of my readers are. In fact, I get more calls and letters from subscribers about cataracts than any other single problem. It's no wonder. Recent data suggests that up to 72% of Americans will have cataracts at some point in their life. Wouldn't it be great if you could lower your risk by 40% or more?
Well, you can. A new study shows how.
The prestigious Oxford University collected dietary data on 27,600 people aged 40 and over. After monitoring this group for up to 15 years, they found startling results. The researchers found that those eating meat (3.5 ounces or more per day) had the highest risk of developing the vision-crippling problem. Moderate meat consumption produced a slightly lower risk.
Those who included seafood in their diet gave a 15% lower risk compared to carnivores. Vegetarians had a 30% lower risk. And vegans a remarkable 40% lower risk.
The researchers admitted that they could not ascertain whether the problem was meat itself or more fruits and veggies or a combination that led to these outcomes. Vegetarians are typically more slender and their diets contain higher amounts of fiber, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and even iron than meat-containing diets.
Cataracts are well known to develop in those with metabolic syndrome/diabetes. I've reported in these pages how a high meat- and fat-containing diet directly causes these problems. Vegetarian diets are loaded with bioflavonoids (such as quercetin). These favorably influence enzymes in the lens of your eyes that could otherwise contribute to cataracts.
I've consistently reported on the benefits of a vegetarian-based diet. It can improve your life span, cancer risk, your heart, prostate, and colon health, etc. We've also known for years that more veggies in your diet will reduce macular degeneration. Now we can add cataract prevention to the above growing list of benefits of a vegetarian diet.
I'm not suggesting that you eat like me (nearly organic 100% Living Foods - depending on the season). For many, that will be quite difficult. But, I encourage my patients to gradually make the shift to about 80% organic Living Foods. What you do with the remaining 20% is up to you, as long as it's not fast, fried, refined or processed, and remains GMO and chemical free. Naturally fed animal products are likely fine to eat as a small portion of your diet. Just don't fry it.
Until you make this shift, I strongly suggest you take supplements that can add more bioflavonoids to your diet. One of the best is Advanced Vision Formula, which contains many of these bioflavonoids and other eye-protective nutrients. And if you already have cataracts, you might be able to avoid surgery by using my prescription eye drops. You can learn all about them on my website.
Yours for better health and medical freedom,
Robert J. Rowen, MD
Ref: Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2011;93:1128-1135.