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Obese People Twice as Likely to Lose Sight

September 19, 2006 | 8,494 views

Those who are obese have a greatly increased risk of losing their sight due to degenerative eye conditions, according to a report from Britain's Royal National Institute of the Blind.

Obese people have an increased risk of three major causes of sight loss:

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition affecting the retina which is a common cause of sight loss
  • Diabetic retinopathy, a progressive blurring of vision experienced by many with type 2 diabetes
  • Cataracts, a clouding of the eye lens

The obese have twice the risk of suffering from AMD and cataracts, and up to10 times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Obesity rates are still on the rise, with increases noted in 31 U.S. states. Fortunately, obesity is preventable, and treatable, by taking a few, very important, proactive steps.

There is simply no way someone becomes obese without seriously elevated insulin and leptin levels. When these hormones are elevated they promote serious inflammation in your body and one of the side effects can be compromised blood supply to the retina which results in the most common cause of blindness in the US, age related macular degeneration (ARMD).

In addition to lowering your insulin and leptin levels, it is also vitally important to eat a wholesome diet that is full of unprocessed vegetables and fruits that are loaded with micronutrients that nourish your eye and also squelch the free radicals and inflammation.

Here are some other strategies that will help lower your risk of eye disease:

Retool your diet based on your body's unique nutritional type.

We all have a unique nutritional type and each type benefits from varying ratios of macronutrients (fats, proteins and carbohydrates) to feel great and avoid chronic degenerative diseases, like those associated with obesity.

Generally speaking, when you eat a meal that is right for your nutritional type you will feel a marked and lasting improvement in your energy, mental capacities, emotional well being, and you will have feeling of being well-satisfied for several hours.

Use the many resources on my Web site to start an exercise program that works best for you.

This is one of the most important steps you can take to normalize your insulin and leptin levels.

The key to exercising is to keep in mind three important variables: length of time, frequency and intensity. By doing so, you will ensure all your hard efforts are not wasted and are having a positive effect on your body and overall weight.

I encourage my patients to gradually increase the amount of time they are exercising to 60 to 90 minutes a day. Even though initially the frequency is daily, this is merely a treatment dose until they normalize your weight or insulin levels.

Once normalized, you will only need to exercise three to four times a week. Also, you should exercise hard enough so that it is difficult to talk to someone next to you; however, if you cannot carry on a conversation at all, then you have gone too far and need to decrease the intensity.

You can review my exercise guidelines to help you get started on the right track.

Take Plenty of Animal Based Omega-3 Fats

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may help protect and promote healthy retinal function. DHA is concentrated in the eye's retina and has been found to be particularly useful in preventing macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness.

I don't recommend eating fish due to the concerns of mercury and other toxins that have been found in fish from oceans, lakes and streams and farm-raised fish. The best choice is to take either fish or krill oil.

You can find this in your health food store, or for your convenience with have one of the highest quality and best priced krill oil in our store.

Get Plenty of Lutein

Lutein is a carotenoid found in vegetables and fruits. While beta-carotene, another carotenoid, is commonly thought of as important for vision health, lutein may be even more important. Some excellent sources include kale, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts and egg yolks, particularly raw egg yolks.

Egg yolks also have zeaxanthin, another carotenoid, in an equal amount to lutein. Zeaxanthin is likely to be equally as effective as lutein in protecting eyesight. It is important to note that lutein is an oil-soluble nutrient, and if you merely consume the above vegetables without some oil or butter you can't absorb the lutein.

Eat Dark Colored Berries

Not only do berries taste great, but also the compounds that give them their dark color are great for your health. The European blueberry, bilberry, is known to prevent and even reverse macular degeneration, and bioflavonoids from other dark-colored berries including blueberries, cranberries and others will also be beneficial. They work by strengthening the capillaries that carry nutrients to eye muscles and nerves.

Avoid Trans Fat

A diet high in trans fat appears to contribute to macular degeneration. Trans fat may interfere with omega-3 fats in your body, which are extremely important for your eye health. Trans fat is found in many processed foods and baked goods, including margarine, shortening, fried foods like french fries, fried chicken and doughnuts, cookies, pastries and crackers.


[+] Sources and References

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