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Eye health: Nutritionist reveals foods that protect your eyes

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While age shows no mercy to your eyes, your diet also plays an important role in your vision. An expert warns that popular yet unhealthy foods could lay the groundwork for harmful processes leading to vision loss.

Food isn’t only a source of energy; it can also satisfy a craving or bring you joy but enjoying one too many unhealthy foods could be taxing on your vision.

Nataly Komova, side effects of oxycodone withdrawal RD and fitness expert at JustCBD, has warned that three popular food groups could be “harmful” to your eyesight.

Processed meats

“There is something common about processed meats – they are mostly linked to poor health,” Ms Komova said.

Apart from their strong flavour and durable nature, processed meats are also characterised by high amounts of salt.

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Ms Komova said: “Eating deli meats, hot dogs, and bacon increases salt amounts in the body, which could risk high blood pressure. This is not just bad for your heart health but also the eyes.”

While your arteries are the best-known victim of high blood pressure, the condition can also damage the tiny, delicate blood vessels that supply blood to your eyes.

The Mayo Clinic explains that this damage in the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, also known as the retina, can lead to “bleeding in the eye, blurred vision and complete loss of vision”.

To stay on the safe side, the NHS advises that adults should eat no more than six grams of salt a day, which is the equivalent of around one teaspoon.

While processed meats could increase your risk of vision loss through high blood pressure, the next two food groups could lead to the same harmful outcome through diabetes.

Sugary drinks

Ms Komova said: “Sugary drinks like lemonade and sports drinks are overloaded with sugars of up to 10 teaspoons, which mainly translates to heart disease and diabetes when consumed frequently.

“As a result, one can get diabetic retinopathy after consuming them for some time.”

Cooked up by high blood sugar, diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that damages the back of the eye, the NHS explains.

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The health service states: “It can cause blindness if left undiagnosed and untreated. However, it usually takes several years for diabetic retinopathy to reach a stage where it could threaten your sight.”

Ms Komova said drinking fresh or pure water is “your best bet”.

But if you want to enjoy a fizzy drink from time to time, the NHS says you shouldn’t have more than 30 grams of free sugars a day, which is “roughly” the equivalent of seven sugar cubes.

Fried foods

Ms Komova said: “Fried foods raise the bad cholesterol level in blood due to increased use of trans fats.

“Cholesterol can cause illnesses, including stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

“Fried foods also increase the chance of inflammation, which can lead to diabetic retinopathy.

“I always tell people to eat fruits and vegetables, including bell peppers, tomatoes, and citrus fruits for fighting inflammation.”

While eating high amounts of these three foods can increase your risk of vision loss, enjoying them sporadically as a part of a healthy diet is unlikely to make you blind.

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