13 September 2012

One more reason to not eat meat: Healthier eyes

 Eating dark leafy greens can help protect your eyes

It is not a surprise to hear that following a healthy diet helps to maintain and even improve eyesight. Dr. Sandy T. Feldman, a world renowned eye surgeon, proposes that many can avoid eye surgery by simply eating foods like spinach, flax seeds and kiwi. Dr. Feldman also suggests a reduction of meat consumption, and even recommends that people consider a vegetarian diet, all for the health of their eyes.

Dr. Feldman points to the evidence of a recent study performed by the University of Oxford in England which found that vegetarian participants were 30 percent less likely to develop cataracts than the participants who consumed the most meat. The study also suggests that vegans are 40 percent less likely to develop the eye obstructions at all. The vision benefits of a plant-based diet go beyond the prevention of cataracts. Eating dark leafy greens, which contain lutein and zeaxanthin, have been found to protect eyes from a condition known as macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. Dr. Feldman also maintains that a diet high in fruit and Omega-3 fatty acids may help protect against retinal problems and dry eyes respectively. She supports these claims with citations from credible research studies.

In addition to Dr. Feldman’s research summary, similar dietary best practices are suggested and supported in a recent release by Transitions Optical, a leading provider of photochromic lenses to optical manufactures worldwide. Just as Dr. Feldman reported, Transitions Optical recommends a diet rich in grains, which are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help lower cholesterol and can even stabilize cell membranes. The lens manufacturer also points out several other vegan eye-friendly foods:
  • Carrots contain beta-carotene, which is essential for healthy eyes. 
  • Soy, a common staple of a vegan diet, contains phytoestrogens, vitamin E, as well as anti-inflammatory agents; all of which promote healthy eyes. 
  • Yellow vegetables are important for daytime vision. 
  • Blueberries and red grapes contain anthocyanins, which helps with night vision. 
 As leading eye professionals have shared, protecting your eyes is one of the many benefits of consuming a plant-based diet. Those who consume a diet high in vegetables, fruits, and grains can prevent cataracts, the need for eye surgery, and even blindness. So, the next time someone asks about the benefits of being a vegan, be sure to mention eye health and vision.

Stephanie Pania | Facebook | Blog | Pinterest
Philadelphia, PA Stephanie is an eco-conscious vegan from Philadelphia, PA. She has a degree in Communications and Technical Theater, and is currently the communications specialist at an area nonprofit. She recently finished a year serving with AmeriCorps, and spends her free time playing with her adopted dogs and her rescued cats.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/  Nillerdk