EYE DISEASES

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables also keeps those portals to your soul healthy, clear, and focused. This goes way beyond the common admonition to eat carrots for better vision (actually better night vision). A number of studies now show that people who regularly eat dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and collard greens are less likely to develop two common aging-related eye diseases, cataract and macular degeneration. Together, these two afflict millions of Americans over age sixty-five. Cataract is the gradual clouding of the eye’s lens, a disk of protein that focuses light on the light-sensitive retina. Like clear floor wax that turns dull and cloudy from the pounding and scuffling of feet, decades of “insults” damage and cloud the lens. Macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness among older people, is caused by cumulative damage to the macula, the center of the retina. It starts as a blurred spot in the center of what you see. As the degeneration spreads, vision shrinks. In both diseases, free radicals are believed to be responsible for causing much of the damage. Free radicals are highly reactive and out-of-control substances generated inside the eye by bright sunlight, cigarette smoke, air pollution, and infection. Dark green leafy vegetables contain two pigments, lutein and zeaxanthin, that accumulate in the eye. These two can snuff out free radicals before they can harm the eye’s sensitive tissues.

In this article from the Food Properties section, we take a look at all the necessary information about this topic. Stay with 4teenweightloss .

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AND BOWEL TROUBLE

What you can’t digest of fruits and vegetables is as healthful as what you can. Fiber, or what some call roughage, is essential for healthy bowel function. Without enough indigestible material in the diet, stools can become hard and difficult to pass. Fiber sops up water like a sponge and expands as it moves through the digestive system. This can calm the irritable bowel. By triggering regular bowel movements, fiber can relieve or prevent constipation. The bulking and softening actions of fiber also decrease pressure inside the intestinal tract and so may help prevent diverticulosis (the development of tiny, easily irritated pouches inside the colon) and diverticulitis (the often painful inflammation of these pouches).

BUT DO THEY PROTECT AGAINST CANCER?

Twenty-five years ago, two eminent epidemiologists estimated that “dietary factors” accounted for 35 percent of cancer deaths in the United States, or roughly the same amount as were chalked up to smoking at the time. Major reports from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (Diet and Health) and the World Cancer Research Fund (Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer), among others, have echoed this conclusion. While 35 percent may be overly optimistic, the basic message that better diets— heavy on the plant foods, please—can help guard against a variety of cancers is perfectly sound.
So far, more than two hundred studies have looked at the connection between diets high (or low) in fruits and vegetables and the development of cancer. Initially, they estimated a 50 percent reduction in most major cancers if everyone got at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. That was the basis of the National Cancer Institute’s ongoing 5-a-Day program.

learn more: Presidential Passion for Olive Oil and Vegetables

Most of the early studies were case-control studies (see page 31). In a nutshell, these involve comparing differences in diet, habits, and other possible causes of cancer between a group of people with a particular cancer and a group without it. Such comparisons aren’t always fair or without bias. People with cancer, for example, tend to be seeking reasons for why they were stricken and may be more apt to find fault with their diets than those without the disease. The consistency of results from case-control studies created a deceptively strong idea that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables helped ward off cancer.
Cohort studies, in which information on diet and other lifestyle factors are collected before cancer, heart disease, and other conditions occur, tend to give more reliable and durable results. Not long ago, our team at the Harvard School of Public Health combined information on fruits and vegetables and cancer from our two large cohort studies (the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow- up Study) after the 110,000 participants had been followed for almost twenty years. During this time, 9,100 had developed some type of cancer. Those who averaged eight or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day developed cancer at about the same rate as those who ate fewer than one-and-a-half servings a day.

learn more: FAMILY NUTRITION

Does this mean that eating fruits and vegetables has no impact whatsoever on cancer? No. Although they don’t have a blanket anticancer effect, fruits and vegetables may work against specific cancers. The International Association for Research on Cancer commissioned an exhaustive review of the hundreds of case-control and cohort studies that have looked at fruit and vegetable consumption and cancer over the years. The expert panel concluded that higher intake of fruit probably reduces the risk of esophageal, stomach, and lung cancer and possibly reduces the risk of mouth, throat, ovarian, kidney, bladder, and colorectal cancer, while higher intake of vegetables probably reduces the risk of esophageal and colorectal cancer and possibly reduces the risk of mouth, throat, stomach, lung, ovarian, and kidney cancer.
Drill down a bit into the data and there’s some evidence that certain types of fruits or vegetables work against specific cancers. Examples include the following:
• Bladder cancer. Eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli has been linked with lower rates of bladder cancer.
• Colon and rectal cancer. There is strong evidence that the vitamin folic acid (sometimes called folate) helps protect against colon and rectal cancer. Vegetables such as spinach and beets are good sources of folic acid and so once helped fight these cancers. Today, with so many foods fortified with folic acid, the contribution of fruits and vegetables to protection against colon and rectal cancer may be dwindling.

EYE DISEASES

• Prostate cancer. Lycopene from tomatoes and cooked or processed tomato products, such as tomato sauce or ketchup, seems to be involved in the prevention of prostate cancer. In the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, for example, men who consumed several servings of tomatoes, tomato sauce, or tomato juice a week were less likely to develop prostate cancer and advanced prostate cancer than those who ate one to two servings a week.
Although the anticancer effects of fruits and vegetables isn’t quite what it was thought to be a few years ago, every little bit helps. The genes you inherited from your parents play a role in determining whether or not you will get cancer. So do habits like smoking cigarettes, drinking too much alcohol, getting too much sun, and not exercising. Your occupation may also play a role. Still, a nutritious diet
—and that includes fruits and vegetables—is an important part of any stay healthy strategy.

SOURCE: www.eyecenterofvirginia.com

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