Nutrition is a vital part of maintaining vision and overall eye health, with many expert studies suggesting that up to 25% of all nutrient intake goes to supporting our valuable visual system. Beyond your eyes, this system includes the nerves, blood vessels and parts of the brain that help to obtain and interpret the images that we see. Vitamin C & E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids are some of the more common nutrients that help maintain ocular health and prevent or slow the progression of some diseases like cataracts or macular degeneration. Vitamin C & E are helpful in keeping your body's tissues strong & healthy and maintaining good cardiovascular health.
While the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), sponsored by the Federal Government’s National Eye Institute showed that taking high levels of antioxidants / beta carotenes and zinc can reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration, it should also be noted that not everyone can safely take these supplements. There have been studies that have shown smokers have an increased risk of developing lung cancer when taking increased amounts of beta carotenes and antioxidants. It is best to consult with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.
Whole unprocessed foods, including fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts and limiting the intake of sweets and preserved food are very important in maintaining a balanced diet and proper nutrition.
Nearly all health experts recommend green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, or brussel sprouts because they can help protect against many serious diseases and promote good cardiovascular health. A handful of sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts or even wheat germ oil in your salad can provide an essential boost of Vitamin E. One can also look for dark berries like blueberries or black berries which contain lutein and zeaxanthin which have been shown to protect against macular degeneration. For some people, making “green smoothies” is a good way to add some of these essential vegetables and fruits to their diet easily.
Aside from eating vegetables and fruits, keeping a balance of protein, namely poultry, fish, or meat is important. Getting a little f fish, such as salmon which contains omega-3 fatty acids, into your diet every week and limiting the amount of red meat will help you maintain better cardiovascular and ocular health.
To learn more, contact your eye doctor today.