Food and Nutrients to Improve Eyesight
By Pierre Mouchette | Bits-n-Pieces
All parts of the body, our eyes included age and do not work as well as when we were young. Poor diet, sun exposure, toxins, infections, physical and emotional stressors can cause wear and tear on the body and eyes. This wear and tear produce free radicals (unstable molecules) that harm us at the cellular level. Damage may result in vision problems or suffering from age-related macular degeneration or other eye disorders. You protect your eyes by making healthy food selections.
Antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, beta-carotene, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids protect against free radical damage that harms the eyes. These nutrients can be obtained by eating colorful fruits and vegetables, protecting the eyes, and boosting overall health.
Vitamin C and Red Peppers - raw red peppers are high in vitamin C.
Vitamin C, a nutrient, is critical for maintaining good eye health. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help decrease the risk of age-related eye disease. Other vitamins sources are orange juice, grapefruit juice, papayas, and strawberries.
Note: Vitamin C is heat sensitive and breaks down during cooking. So, maximize your vitamin C intake by eating fruits and veggies containing these raw nutrients.
Vitamin E in Nuts and Sunflower Seeds - these nuts and seeds are rich in vitamin E.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant vitamin critical to eye health. It is comprised of eight fat-soluble antioxidants called tocopherols. These nutrients help protect fats that makeup cell membranes. The eye's retina is rich in fatty acids, so antioxidant protection is critical for the eyes.
Vitamins in Dark, Leafy Greens - protect against age-related eye disease.
Rich in vitamins C and E are dark, leafy greens such as collard greens, kale, and spinach. They also have carotenoids called zeaxanthin and lutein. These nutrients will help protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in abundance in the retina and lens of the eye.
Note: these vegetables are not just good for your eyes, but they help prevent other health problems.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Salmon - oily fish provide beneficial fatty acids protecting the eyes and blood vessels.
DHA and EPA are helpful fats known as omega-3 fatty acids. These fats prevent inflammation and boost the health of blood vessels. Omega-3 fatty acid intake can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma and helps to maintain good nutrition.
Note: Insufficient levels of these fats may contribute to dry eyes.
Sweet Potatoes – are rich in beta-carotene that protects eyesight.
Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, and carotenoids are red, yellow, and orange pigments in similarly colored fruits and vegetables. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A. Good sources of beta-carotene are sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, and spinach.
Note: In a large study, beta-carotene, zinc, copper, and vitamins C and E reduced the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Zinc in Oysters, Meat, and Poultry - are an excellent source of zinc.
Zinc is a mineral critical for many enzymes in the body. It is also necessary to maintain healthy eyesight. Zinc functions as an antioxidant, boosts immune function and is a constituent of cell membranes and proteins in the body. Crabs, dark turkey, and dark chicken are good sources of this vital mineral. Zinc deficiency is associated with vision problems, immune system problems, skin problems, and psychological disorders.
Vegetarian Sources of Zinc - eat beans and legumes to load up on zinc.
Some plant-based foods also supply zinc. Beans and legumes are high fiber, low in fat, excellent vegetarian protein sources, and supply zinc. Other good vegetarian sources of zinc include cashews and almonds.
Carotenoids in Eggs - supply carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
Egg yolks get their colorful yellow from carotenoid pigments called lutein and zeaxanthin. These pigment compounds are concentrated in a part of the eye called the macula. There is a yellow spot that lies in the center of the retina. The macula controls central vision, which is the part of the vision that we use when focusing straight ahead. We rely on central vision to read, drive, and see details sharply. The macular pigment protects the macula from dangerous blue light. It also aids in the function of the macula. Eggs also contain zinc, which helps your body use lutein and zeaxanthin, critical for maintaining good eye health.
Summer Squash - contains several nutrients for healthy eyes.
Summer squash has lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and other vitamins beneficial for eyesight, including vitamin C. However, winter squash provides vitamins A and C and even omega-3 fatty acids.
Nutrients can also be obtained in vision supplements designed to help protect ocular health. The National Eye Institute Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) concluded that using the supplement formula, AREDS lowered the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration. The formula contains beta-carotene, copper, zinc, and vitamins C and E. A subsequent trial called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) tested a similar vision supplement formula that replaced beta-carotene with lutein and zeaxanthin and added omega-3 fatty acids. The formula also replaced the high doses of zinc with a lower amount. Multivitamins like Ocuvite include the mix of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients necessary to help prevent age-related vision problems like advanced AMD.
Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts - good nutrition helps protect your vision.
Broccoli and brussels sprouts contain beneficial nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, C, and E. These nutrients act as antioxidants and scavenge free radicals, unstable molecules that assault and damage healthy tissue. Retinal tissue is particularly susceptible to free radical damage. If you are at risk for vision problems and blindness, ask your eye doctor if you would benefit from a vision supplement, such as an AREDS2 multivitamin formula.
Note: It is essential to eat foods rich in nutrients to protect eye health.
Vitamin D - decreases the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin the body needs to absorb calcium, support bone growth, and modulate immune function and inflammation. There is evidence that vitamin D also decreases the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Fatty fish like swordfish, tuna, and salmon contain vitamin D, but cod liver oil contains more. Smaller amounts of the vitamin are in milk, beef liver, eggs, and cheese.
Folate - a water-soluble B vitamin the body needs to repair DNA and produce new cells.
Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin needed to repair DNA and produce new cells. It also serves important roles for the function of the nervous system and immune system. Some studies suggest that high folate intake decreases the risk of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), advancing to geographic atrophy (GA), the late stage of the eye disorder that may lead to blindness. Get folate from beef liver, spinach, black-eyed peas, fortified breakfast cereal, and leafy green vegetables.