Health & Fitness

How to prevent cataracts

Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and by 2020 more than 30 million of you will have to deal with the cloudy, color-distorted images that cataracts cause. Luckily, cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries done in the U.S., and it can replace your eye’s damaged lens with a permanent artificial one. It’s 100 percent effective over 96 percent of the time.

But what’s even better? Cataract prevention. The Nurses’ Health Study (among others) revealed that women who ate a healthy diet, loaded with polyphenols (specifically, lutein and zeaxanthin) from dark-green vegetables, fruits and whole grains were half as likely to develop cataracts as women who didn’t. We think it applies to men, too. And while diabetes and spending time in the sun can contribute to cataract development, always wearing sunglasses and maintaining good glucose control can slow down their development.

What’s the weight?

The first tale in John McPhee’s 1979 book “Giving Good Weight” details the life of local area farmers who bring their goods to New York City’s Greenmarkets. Here, “giving good weight,” means the farmers are giving you a good, square deal – and that’s just what you want.

But despite recent headlines about a study in the journal Obesity that claimed weighing yourself daily is the best way to lose weight and keep it off, we think for most people, that’s not giving good weight-control advice.

Weighing yourself every day may end up backfiring, making it harder to stick with your weight-loss and exercise plan. Studies show that for some folks, a daily weigh-in can be terrorizing; that daily confrontation can fuel depression. And a daily weigh-in might make you fixate on every fluctuation (weight can head up and down during the day) and make you feel like a failure when you don’t see positive results.

Your weight can fluctuate depending on whether you’ve gone to the bathroom and if you drank water when you woke up. And you should expect to lose only between 1/2 and 2 pounds a week over the long haul. So here’s a better idea:

Pick one time during the week – say Wednesday, right before dinner – for your weight check. Use the same scale and wear similar clothes. That can give you an accurate snapshot of how you’re doing. You’ll be giving yourself good weight info, and that’s a square deal.

Building a better burger

When Flint Lockwood’s invention goes sky high and it starts raining hamburgers (buns and all) in the animated movie “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” it was clearly time for him to contemplate building a better burger-making machine. And since this summer, tens of millions of backyard chefs will cook up their version of the perfect grilled meal (84 percent of the time, it’s burgers), there’s no time like the present to come up with a better burger – one that cuts down on the health hazards of a carnitine and saturated-fat-laden, inflammation-producing, over-charred beef patty but still delivers all that flavor and fun.

So here are three burger ideas that dish up great taste and improved nutrition.

Flip No. 1: The turkey-lentil burger: Combine cooked lentils, ground turkey (about 40-60), diced onions, hot sauce and/or Dijon mustard and pepper. Black beans work, too. Top with homemade ketchup (no sugar or high fructose corn syrup; just whole tomatoes, a dash of honey and vinegar, salt, pepper; simmer until thick.)

Flip No. 2: The homemade veggie burger. Try a ground mixture of well-seasoned, roasted veggies (zucchini, sweet potatoes, onions, etc.), canned beans and shredded, chopped greens formed into patties. Or try a grilled portabella mushroom, topped with a patty made from a pre-cooked mixture of quinoa, mashed cannellini beans, cubed tofu, scallions, thyme and hot sauce.

Flip No. 3: Gotta have red meat? Opt for grass-fed (no corn in a feed lot), hormone-free, 90 to 97 percent lean buffalo, with sliced tomato and avocado.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is chief wellness officer and chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

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