If you needed just one more reason to cut the sugar, white flour, and other highly processed grains from your diet – here’s one for ya. Your Vision.
Turns out that if you cut out (or cut back) your consumption of processed carbohydrates, you can lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a leading cause of blindness in people aged 60 and older. Why is that, you may be wondering? Well, the high glycemic index in refined carbs increases oxidative stress, inflammation, and blood-fat levels – all linked to AMD.
In addition to replacing those bad carbs with high-fiber whole grains, there are four specific nutrients that help reduce the risk of developing common eye problems by as much as 35 percent – Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta carotene (Vitamin A), and zinc.
In a recent study of people aged 55 and over, those who reported the highest intake of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, and zinc were significantly less likely to develop AMD than those who had the lowest intake. Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes as well as mangoes and strawberries will pump up the vitamin C. Turkey, chicken, and fortified cereals are great sources for zinc. Raw almonds, peanuts, natural peanut butter, or a supplement, can help boost your intake of vitamin E. And sweet potatoes, apricots, and peaches are all excellent sources of beta carotene.
Other carotenoids (nutrients like beta carotene) that appear to be beneficial for eye health are lutin and zeaxanthin. You can find them in a variety of fruits and vegetables. Spinach, peas, and green bell peppers are all good sources of lutein. You get zeaxanthin from corn, spinach, orange bell peppers, and tangerines.