I can't tell you how frustrating it is to see a doc throw up his arms at a condition and declare, "It's just your genes. There's not much you can do."
Until now, one of those conditions has been macular degeneration, the number one cause of vision problems in people ages 50 and older.
Many doctors believed genetics was the single biggest risk factor – but that's not the whole story, because it turns out there are things you can do to decrease your risk no matter what your genes say.
New research, published in the journal Ophthalmology, shows that your diet can help decrease your risk for macular degeneration.
And guess what? It's the exact diet most people should be enjoying – but aren't.
The researchers found that people who eat fewer carbs and starches and more leafy green veggies, nuts and fish have a lower risk for this life-altering condition.
But most people instead opt for what I call the Torture Chamber Diet – high in carbs and low in nutrients.
This diet is killing us for generations, leading to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. But before it takes lives, it lowers the quality of life. Stealing your vision is just one of the ways it does that.
The researchers found that vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids all help reduce the risk for macular degeneration. And you can get those naturally from leafy greens, fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, whole grains, eggs and fatty fish – just to name a few.
Meanwhile, the carbs and starches of the Torture Chamber Diet offer little to none of these essential nutrients.
There are other risk factors for macular degeneration, common-sense moves you can make now to help avoid it later on. Smoking appears to play a big role, as does your weight.
So don't be fatalistic about these conditions. They're not completely controlled by your genes and they don't just come with the territory as you grow older.
The bottom line on this is that our bodies respond to our lifestyles. Treat your body right, eat good foods and get some exercise, and you'll lower your risk for plenty of conditions, not just macular degeneration.