We exercise to maintain a healthy weight, prevent cardiovascular disease and lower our cholesterol, but how many of us exercise for our eye health? Although it is a little-known fact, physical exercise may also protect us from eye diseases and vision loss. While studies in this area are just beginning, recent studies indicate that exercise can provide protection against cataracts, the leading cause of blindness in the world.
A cataract forms when the lens of the eye becomes opaque and results in vision impairment. Most often, cataracts affects the elderly. Although it is not exactly clear exactly how exercise benefits cataracts, it may be due to the fact that exercise increases high density lipoproteins (HDL) commonly known as “good cholesterol.” Inflammation and oxidation promote cataract formation, and HDLs have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects.
A specific case study compared the physical activity level of patients who were cataract-free as well as patients who had cataracts. The patients who had little to no physical activity were seven times more likely to develop cataracts than patients who reported moderate levels of physical activity. In another study, researchers found that joggers who ran more than 40 miles per week were 35 percent less likely to develop cataracts than joggers who ran more than 10 miles per week (Source: Virtual Medicine).
Exactly how does exercise achieve these benefits in your eyes? Physical exercise improves blood flow and circulation to eye tissues and helps flush toxins away from the eyes. Just as important as exercise, diet pays a key role as well. Increasing our intake of vitamin A, E and C will help maintain eye health. Flaxseed oil and omega-3 fatty acids are other key nutrients for healthy vision and preventing cataracts. One of the biggest contributors to eye disease is smoking, so if you are a smoker, make a decision to quit smoking. The health of your eyes may depend on it (Source: Natural News).