Good Hope, Heartlands, and Solihull Eye Clinics

Healthy diet..some ideas

David Kinshuck

Some ideas


  1. see NHS Direct
  2. 9 portions of vegetables or fruit a day
  3. A healthy diet postpones cataracts (AJO 2010: a poor diet & obesity increases risk by ~50%)
  4. very little extra salt from processed food (a little salt is fine for most people)
  5. vegetarians have lower blood pressures and healthier lipid levels,  see
  6. omega 3 fats such as those in oily fish help (mackerel, salmon, sardines, pilchards etc)...2 portions a week are very helpful
  7. olive oil is ideal when cold, but rapeseed and sunflower oil are best when the oil is used for cooling
  8. soya products are fine and lower cholesterol
  9. many diets contain too little vitamin D..this comes from diet and sunlight. If you have dark skin or get little sunlight you may need vitamin D supplements.
  10. Very little saturated fat and transfats. Reduce saturated fatty acids BMJ 16: for most people red meat (lamb, pork, beef etc) is not needed and probably contributes to bowel cancer; it is best to avoid more than 2 portions a week
  11. Protein sources should include lentils, beans and other pulses
  12. 2 eggs a week maximum
  13. Chicken and turkey are safe in small amounts
  14. If you are strictly vegetarian and female you may become anaemic; a very balanced diet is may need up.   On the other hand, vegetarian diets reduce cancer rates etc. If you are careful and avoid shortages of iron and B12 there is some evidence they are they healthiest.
  15. 2 cups of tea a day
  16. Lots of exercise. Exercise improves retinal circulation 2011
  17. Some food are not as healthy as it seems and vic-versa. Coconut oil has saturated fat. Nuts often have healthy fats ...but they are very fattening indeed...small amounts are certainly healthy.
  18. Sugar and sweet products (excluding fruit) are not advised (small amounts are probably fine) as they increase the risk of diabetes.
  19. A healthy diet prevents Alzheimer's "[lower risk is related to] higher intakes of salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables, fruits, and dark and green leafy vegetables and a lower intake of high-fat dairy products, red meat, organ meat, and butter".
  20. Toothbrushing will help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and low grade inflammation, both of which are linked to macular degeneration and retinal vascular occlusion. BMJ BMJ 2010   
  21. fruit lowers blood pressure 2011
  22. hypertension and its effect on the eyes
  23. prediabetes is harmful BMJ 16


9 Portions a day..not as extreme as it sounds

9 portions a day sounds extreme..but it is easy. If you make a mixed salad (eg grated carrot, grated red cabbage, finely chopped celery) and have this as part of your lunch and supper; then have an apple, orange, banana, pear...about 9 portions a day.
Generally any salad is beneficial, as long as here is nothing harmful added like mayonnaise (olive oil in small amounts is fine). Different coloured vegetables have different vitamins, and so a variety is likely to be helpful.



Transfats are in some cakes and biscuits...they tend to be the 'harder' fats. (Such as hard margarines, suet, lard). Advice changes every day, according to the latest research!


Some 'perfect' meal ideas

Here are some 'perfect' meals just as an idea.

  • grilled mackerel, potatoes, steamed broccoli, and the mixed salad above
  • baked potato, grilled salmon, potato, steamed carrot, and the mixed salad above
  • a lentil curry with rice and a similar salad (here, minus the coconut and eggs.. coconut is not a very healthy fat; here). Another recipe.
  • beans and couscous here
  • bean stews
  • low sugar/salt baked beans, baked potato, salad as above (cheap, very simple)


Expert advice

These are just ideas...I am an ophthalmologist not diet expert! But cooking your own food instead of buying pre-prepared food is good fun and different every time....with a few disasters! Read up the expert's words NHS Direct


We are all different

Everybody needs a different diet...some are allergic to caffeine in tea, others need more salt (depending on medication etc), women need more iron. Some people have very high fat diets with normal cholesterols! Others have a high cholesterol even with a 'healthy' diet. People who exercise a lot need a lot more food...but this should still be low in saturated and transfats.

It is likely that the same lifestyle that prevents stroke prevents or delays many eye conditions. These factors are extensively reviewed here Stroke 2010. Factors that cuase stroke, some of which we cannot change, include

  • age
  • genes
  • smoking
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol   
  • low birth rate
  • family history of stroke
  • atrial fibrillation
  • carotid stenosis
  • postmenopausal hormone therapy
  • oral contraceptive pill
  • salt in diet etc
  • physical inactivity   3 times riskmigraine
  • obesity
  • alcohol
  • drug abuse
  • hyperhomocysteinaemia
  • high lipoprotein
  • hypercoagulability (some prothrombin gees;  etc)
  • inflammatory process such as tooth decay
  • acute infection