A healthy diet helps us to achieve overall good health. However, wrong food choices can make our bodies unhealthy and cause various health conditions, such as diabetes. At least 285 million people aged 20 and above suffering from diabetes have diabetic retinopathy.
Although there exist effective treatment options, considering healthy food choices can help prevent risk factors caused by diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that affects people who suffer from diabetes. It occurs once high blood sugar levels in a diabetic patient affect the retina blood vessels.
Some common diabetic retinopathy signs and symptoms include:
• Vision loss
• Blurred vision
• Difficulty seeing in the dark
• Eye pain and redness
• Fluctuating vision
There are foods that may lead to complications for patients suffering from diabetic retinopathy. This means that avoiding foods that worsen the condition is imperative, helping manage the condition. Some foods you should avoid and achieve a healthier life while suffering from diabetic retinopathy include:
These are natural or artificial unsaturated fats, primarily found in processed foods. Though trans fats have been banned, foods containing these fats are still available in the market. In addition, manufacturers add trans fats to certain foods to increase their shelf-life. However, research shows that trans foods increase cholesterol levels in the body, increasing the risk of inflammation and insulin resistance.
Foods that contain trans fats you should avoid include:
• Varieties of microwavable popcorn
• Vegetable shortening
• Bakery products such as pies, doughnuts, and pastries
• Nondairy coffee creamers
• Fried fast foods such as mozzarella sticks and fried chicken
• Frozen pizza
• Potato chips
• Canned frosting
These foods contain high sugar levels and a low amount of fiber. Typically, processed foods tend to slow down the rate of food absorption in the body and increase cholesterol levels, causing high blood pressure. In addition, processed foods are ready to eat and attractive to the eye, especially people with tight schedules. However, these foods contain a high number of calories and a low nutritional value.
Common processed foods to avoid if you have diabetic retinopathy include:
• Chicken nuggets
• French fries
• White rice
• Sugary cereals
• Processed meats
• Fast-food hamburgers
• Added sugar foods such as jellies, jams, and relish
• Canned food in heavy syrup
• Potato chips
Sugar-sweetened beverages have high amounts of calories and are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Consuming these foods will likely result in a spike in blood sugar levels and may lead to complications for people suffering from diabetic retinopathy. They also affect the body’s metabolic rate promoting belly fat and increasing cholesterol levels. Replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with low-sugar drinks such as water and cow's milk helps manage the condition.
Some sugar-sweetened beverages to avoid if you have diabetic retinopathy include:
• Energy drinks
• Sports drinks
• Sweetened fruit juice
• Flavored coffee
• Fruit-flavored yogurt
• Natural sugars, including maple syrup, agave nectar, and honey
• Fruit juice
Knowing which foods to avoid if you have diabetic retinopathy can be challenging. However, you can stay healthy by avoiding processed foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, and trans fats to start with. This helps prevent future complications, ensure a better life and manage your condition despite suffering from diabetes. Therefore, stick to a healthy diet to keep your eyes healthy throughout each day.