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Vision Loss & Fruitfulness

Macular degeneration is now the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in older Americans.   In the course of this disease, the macula, which is a small part of the retina, deteriorates, and causes loss of vision, starting with blind or distorted spots, needing a stronger light to read and inability to focus on tiny items or print, and usually progressing to total blindness.

While there's no effective treatment for this condition, there are some reports that high antioxidant supplements can slow or perhaps even somewhat reverse this loss of vision, although this is still a controversial and untested theory.

According to a Reuters news report, research has shown that persons who ate fruit regularly earlier in life had a much lower rate of macular degeneration.  Surprisingly, neither vitamins nor vegetables had this strong protective effect.  Even the famed "bright red, orange, yellow or dark green" colors in fruits and vegetables, long a hallmark of nutrition, provided any protective effect.

One would assume, especially considering the various reports, that eating extra fruit even later in life or at the onset of macular degeneration would also have some benefits.  Time will tell.

Some dietitians, doctors, diet gurus and other experts have come out against excessive consumption of fruit, or in a few cases, ruled out fruit altogether.   While going overboard certainly can cause various problems, I have always felt I either wasn't fully understanding their message or in many cases firmly disagreed with it.

The mammals closest to us, either genetically as the great apes, or biological models such as rats and pigs, all strive to include fruit in their diet and are better off for it.  I think it's a big mistake, especially in today's climate of sweets consumption by almost everyone, to exclude fruit and fruit juice from the average diet.   It just needs to be taken in moderation and as part of a healthy varied smorgasbord of foods.  You'll do your family a favor to find ways to help them do so - sneakily if necessary.

See Ten Commandments for including fruit in your diet.

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