Recognizing the warning signs of eye problems, understanding their causes, seeking appropriate treatments, and implementing preventive measures are crucial for maintaining optimal eye health. In this article, we will explore common warning signs of eye problems, their causes, treatment options, and the best ways to prevent them, supported by medical research references.
The revolution in food science and retailing over the last 60 years has led to explosive growth in the manufacturing and consumption of ultra-processed foods (UPFs). In virtually all western diets, UPFs have taken over, rendering natural unprocessed or minimally processed foods, freshly prepared meals, and traditional cooking things of the past.
The dangers of this are real; nutritional, environmental, economic, and social challenges are occurring globally, and researchers have made strong connections between these trends and the risks of eating too many UPFs — putting obesity and nutrition-related chronic diseases at the top of the list.
Ultra-processed foods have detrimental health effects
Ultra-processed foods are usually formulated from starches, added sugars and hydrogenated fats and may contain many artificial additives. UPFs are often made to be more ‘tasty’ and visually appealing to consumers. They also have an extended shelf life than unprocessed foods thereby helping maximize profits for retailers and manufacturers.
The image below shows the NOVA food classification system divided into four groups based on the level of processing:
A 2018 study found that more than 50% of the calories that an average person in the UK eats come from ultra-processed foods (group 4 products).
The blunt fact is that over-consumption of UPFs are bad for you; they are energy-dense and lack valuable nutrients, and with their hyper-palatability flavors and convenience factors, consumers often overindulge in UPFs rather than other healthier options.
“Imbalance in omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in western diets leads to chronic inflammation”
The microbiome in our gut plays a major role in our health. In fact, what we eat shapes our gut flora. A healthy gut needs different types of bacteria for optimal health. Ultra-processed diets lead to less bacteria diversity thereby negatively impacting our gut health.
Unhealthy diets interfere with the balance of omega-6 to omega-3 in the body. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in our diet has a huge impact on human health. The optimum ratio should be 4:1, so 4 times more omega-6 to omega-3. Currently, in most western diets this ratio is a shocking 15:1, and in some countries like USA, the ratio can be as much as 20:1. This imbalance is largely due to the increased prevalence and consumption of ultra-processed food that is low in omega-3 and high in omega-6.
People with this imbalance tend to have higher levels of c-reactive protein (CRP), a measure of inflammation in their bodies.
A state of chronic inflammation lessens our ability to function properly at the cellular level and increases our vulnerability to a wide range of lifestyle diseases affecting many different body systems and organs.
Risk factors for chronic inflammation include age, obesity, physical inactivity, diet, gut microbiota, smoking, stress, medication and pollution. Researchers have found connections between higher levels of CRP and various chronic illnesses such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease and more.
By improving our diets, the damaging effects of chronic inflammation can be alleviated. Leafy greens, and healthy fats (including fatty fish) are recommended foods to help combat inflammation.
In addition to diet, pure and natural supplements, such as krill oil phospholipids bound omega-3 and choline, can help with inflammation. Krill oil research shows that by increasing your Omega-3 Index, you can reduce inflammatory parameters, such as CRP. Better ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 contribute to a better inflammatory environment in the body.
Krill oil is clinically proven to reduce concentrations of CRP and inflammatory activity, clinically proven to increase omega-3 levels in the blood and clinically proven to reduce the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in both plasma and red blood cells. A better-balanced diet consisting of fresh ingredients supported by supplementation like krill oil phospholipids can be a great way to combat the negative health effects of an ultra-processed food diet.