FEAST YOU REYES

We take a closer look at 5 foods we should be eat­ing to help us look af­ter our eyes...

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Eye Health -

“Be­cause our eyes are made up of vul­ner­a­ble neu­ral tis­sue, they work at a high meta­bolic rate and are prone to free rad­i­cal at­tack and ox­ida­tive dam­age,” says Ian Gri­er­son, Emer­i­tus Pro­fes­sor of Oph­thal­mol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Liver­pool. “They are at risk of more than their fair share of age- re­lated dis­eases, such as age- re­lated mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion ( AMD), cataracts, glau­coma and di­a­betic eye disease – and, un­for­tu­nately, th­ese age- re­lated dis­eases can rob peo­ple of vi­sion and qual­ity of life in their re­tire­ment years when they should be en­joy­ing life to the full.”

But a good diet can help. Here are five foods that are rich in some of the key vi­ta­mins and min­er­als needed for op­ti­mum eye health...

OILY FISH

“Fish, such as fresh salmon, trout, tuna, sar­dines, her­ring, pilchards and brill, are all rich in omega- 3 fatty acids which are crit­i­cal reti­nal and oc­u­lar an­tiox­i­dants that help pro­tect the eye to­ward off ill­ness,” says Pro­fes­sor Gri­er­son.

“We were once told fats were the bad guys– sim­ple; but now we have to think in terms of good and bad fats – not quite so sim­ple. Among the good ones are the omega- 3 fatty acids, par­tic­u­larly DHAs which are in­volved in vis­ual func­tion. They, and other omega- 3 fatty acids, pro­tect the retina from ox­i­da­tion dam­age pro­duced by light, chem­i­cal re­ac­tions and in­flam­ma­tion.”

GREEN LEAFY VEG­ETA­BLES

“Green leafy veg­eta­bles, such as spinach, kale and cab­bage con­tain plant carotenoids– and greens are par­tic­u­larly rich in one carotenoid called lutein,” says Pro­fes­sor Gri­er­son.

“Lutein is a yel­low plant dye that is not pro­duced in the body so we can only get it by eat­ing ap­pro­pri­ate veg­eta­bles and fruit ( or through sup­ple­ments).

“It is a vi­tal part of the pro­tec­tive sys­tem in the retina par­tic­u­larly at the mac­ula, whichis a s mall area about the size of a thumb­nail re­spon­si­ble for cen­tral vi­sion.”

CAR­ROTS

“Car­rots con­tain a be­wil­der­ing ar­ray of phy­to­chem­i­cals ( in ex­cess of 500) and im­por­tant mem­ber­sare lutein, zeax­an­thin and beta- carotene for vis­ual health,” says Pro­fes­sor Gri­er­son.

“The last one, beta- carotene, is abun­dant in car­rots and, when ab­sorbed by the body, it is con­verted into vi­ta­min A. Vi­ta­min A is needed by one type of reti­nal pho­tore­cep­tor( therod) to func­tion and this re­cept or give sour‘ evening and night vi­sion’. Beta- carotene is also a pow­er­ful reti­nal an­tiox­i­dant so it can help pro­tect the retina from harm.”

AL­MONDS

“Th­ese nuts are packed with good­ness and con­tain numer­ous min­er­als im­por­tant to eye and body func­tion in­clud­ing cal­cium, potas­sium, mag­ne­sium, iron and eye- im­por­tant zinc,” says Pro­fes­sor Gri­er­son.

“Al­monds also con­tain abun­dant vi­ta­min Ewhich has been shown to be a cru­cial fat­sol­u­ble an­tiox­i­dant for the eye be­cause – along with omega- 3 fatty acids, vi­ta­min C, vi­ta­min A, lutein, zeax­an­thin and zinc – it helps to pro­tect the retina from the in­ces­sant rav­ages of free rad­i­cal at­tack.”

OR­ANGES

“Or­anges are rich in min­er­als, such as potas­sium and cal­cium ( needed for body and eye health),” says Pro­fes­sor Gri­er­son. “They are also a bril­liant and rel­a­tively cheap source of vi­ta­min C – for ex­am­ple, a sin­gle or­ange has over 12 times the vi­ta­min Cof an ap­ple!

“Vi­ta­min C has many func­tions in the body, par­tic­u­larly tis­sue re­pair and main­te­nance. It is also them a jor water sol­u­ble an­tiox­i­dant in the eye, help­ing to pro­tect the retina and other oc­u­lar struc­tures from the rav­ages of daily ac­tiv­ity.”

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