Nutrition and Your Eyes
Good nutrition is vital for your eyes and general health. A well-balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits is highly recommended. Vitamins that contain antioxidants are linked to eye health according to various clinical trials and studies. These vitamins help to maintain tissues in the eyes and healthy cells, as well as repairing any damages that occur over time.
Antioxidant vitamins include vitamins A, C and E. The main sources of these vitamins include green leafy vegetables, oranges, carrots, tomatoes, dried apricots, spinach and peppers. Other sources for these vitamins are eggs, teas, nuts, garlic, seeds and dairy products.
Good nutrition will help ensure that your eyes are functioning well throughout your lifetime. There are two very important nutrients that reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. The two nutrients are lutein and zeaxanthin. These compounds are also known as xanthophylls, which contain yellow pigments found in most plants and vegetables.
Xanthophylls belong to an organic compound group called carotenoids. A high concentration of lutein appears as orange-red in color. Lutein and zeaxanthin helps to boost the antioxidant functions in the body. This ensures that the body is well guarded against free radicals. These radicals are known to damage cells and weaken your body.
Lutein and zeaxanthin also help to block the blue light from penetrating the underlying structure of the retina. This will minimize the risk of oxidative damage caused by light which could lead to macular degeneration.
Fish oil and flaxseed oil contain dietary fatty acids that are important in controlling dry eyes. When these oils are used alone or together with eye drops, they will help reduce dry eye symptoms including stinging, burning, intermittent visual disturbances and redness. For this reason, ophthalmologists are recommending fish oil and flaxseed oil for their patients.
The nutritional level of fish oil and flaxseed come from omega 3 fatty acids. Flaxseed oil provides high levels of alpha-linolenic acid which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid. During digestion, this type of omega-3 is split into two compounds which are delivered throughout the body to provide the protection of cell membranes.
Macular degeneration is progressive damage to the eye’s retina which can lead to loss of vision. Dark green vegetables such as collard greens, dark green lettuce, spinach and kale have a high concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin. The two compounds will ensure that your eyes are well nourished.
Bright orange fruits contain beta carotene which is a precursor of vitamin A. Beta carotene helps the eyes to adjust to the low levels of lights in the dark or at night, and also promote healthy vision.
Wheat germ is a main source of vitamin E, which is an important ingredient in protecting the eyes against free radicals. Vitamin E can help slow down macular degeneration and progression of cataracts. Wheat germ can be sprinkled on yogurt, oatmeal, salads and mixed with smoothies.
Finally, by including kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas or mung beans, you will get zinc which helps to improve the macula at the centre part of the retina. Zinc is also used to release vitamin A available in the liver to be used in the eyes.