To help you understand why including antioxidant rich foods in your diet is so important, let me explain why the macula, especially needs antioxidants.
The definition I like best comes from WiseGeek.com:
"Oxidation is defined as the interaction between oxygen molecules and all the different substances they may contact, from metal to living tissue. Technically, however, with the discovery of electrons, oxidation came to be more precisely defined as the loss of at least one electron when two or more substances interact."
Because the macula is oxygen rich, there is lots of oxidation occurring there which means lots of free radical formation. Free radicals cause cell damage - at the DNA level - which can result in degenerative diseases like macular degeneration.
According to Dr. John Nolan, vision scientist and Fulbright postdoctoral fellow in the MCG Department of Ophthalmology,
"It may be that once you go beyond 60, which is the age when macular degeneration typically starts developing, the pigment is depleted for several reasons, including increased oxidative stress and a poor diet, both associated with an increase in age."
Foods High In Antioxidants
Just by eating, as our bodies break down and metabolize food, they generate a lot of free radicals.
“And without any antioxidants present, like those from colorful fruits and vegetables, for instance, there’s nothing to counteract this detrimental effect,” says Dr. Ronald Prior,a chemist at USDA’s Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center in Little Rock.
“We’re learning that antioxidants should be consumed with every meal,” says Prior. “And if you routinely skip antioxidants in your diet, over time, the excess number of free radicals being produced may begin damaging cellular components, ultimately leading to atherosclerosis, cancer, and other diseases.”
Although blueberries are rich in antioxidants, there are lots of other foods besides berries that can supply the macula with the needed antioxidants to prevent free radical damage. Find out what they are here:
Foods High in Antioxidants
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