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Sharpen Your Vision with This Taco Meal

Sharpen Your Vision with This Taco Meal

Cataract surgery. No one wants it to appear in their crystal-ball reading. So here's what you need to do to keep cataracts from clouding your future:

Switch the meat filling in that taco to fish. And serve it with salsa and a side of vinegar coleslaw. Research shows that limiting your intake of meat to no more than 12 ounces a week -- and grabbing some more fish, vegetables, and fruit in the process -- may help reduce the risk of cataracts.

Save Your Sight
In a study, researchers examined the link between dietary habits and cataract risk in older adults. The research showed that adults age 65 and over who ate the most meat (at least 24 ounces a week -- think four large steaks) had the highest rate of cataracts, an eye condition in which opaque proteins build up on the lens and cloud vision. But those who limited their meat intake to half that -- the equivalent of four small (3 ounce) servings a week -- slashed their risk of cataracts by 15 percent. And people who not only limited meat but replaced it with fish, fruits, and veggies had the lowest cataract risk of all. (Related: Eat these foods for better eye health.)

Peeper Protection
There were some other dietary revelations in the study. For example, eating too much overall, getting too much cholesterol, or eating too much protein all seemed to be bad for cataract risk. On the other hand, vitamin A and vitamin B12 appeared to be helpful when it came to preventing cataracts. It's not clear from the research whether diet directly affected cataract risk or whether people with good diets tended to have other healthy habits that helped protect eyes from the lens-clouding condition. Regardless, we do know that a diet low in meat and high in fruits and vegetables is a boon to health for many other reasons -- from weight control to heart health. So think of creative ways to put less meat and more plants into your meals. (Related: Try this California Taco Makeover recipe.)

Other good ways to reduce cataract risk? Limit alcohol; cut down your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation; keep your blood sugar under control, because diabetes raises cataract risk; and don't smoke. Is it time for an eye exam? Find out when you should see the eye doc.

Medically reviewed in October 2019.

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