Eat right for eyes

Hastings Leader - - News - BY JENNY STE­WART, GEN­ERAL AND THERAPEUTIC OPTOMETRIST, GRANT & DOU­GLAS OPTOMETRY & EYE­WEAR

Car­rots are prob­a­bly the most fa­mous food we think of that helps our vision. It is true that beta-carotene, a type of vi­ta­min A that gives car­rots their orange colour, helps the retina and other parts of the eye to func­tion smoothly.

How­ever an es­sen­tial part of eye care is eat­ing foods that con­tain the right vi­ta­mins and min­er­als to keep the eyes healthy.

Re­search sug­gests that an­tiox­i­dants (such as Vi­ta­min A, C and E) help to re­duce the risk of many of dis­eases. This in­cludes the com­mon eye con­di­tions glau­coma, cataracts and mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion. Re­search also sug­gests that eat­ing lots of sug­ary and/or starchy foods may make eyes more vul­ner­a­ble to eye dis­eases such as mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion (MD).

Some ex­am­ples of es­sen­tial foods for eye health are be­low. Spinach and kale

These won­der­ful leafy greens are loaded with two of the best an­tiox­i­dants for eyes — lutein and zeax­an­thin. These an­tiox­i­dants can help pro­tect against eye dam­age from things like sun­light, cig­a­rette smoke, and air pol­lu­tion. Broc­coli, and bright-coloured fruits like ki­wifruit and grapes, are also high in these an­tiox­i­dants.

Grape­fruit, straw­ber­ries, and brus­sels sprouts

Vi­ta­min C is an out­stand­ing an­tiox­i­dant for eye health. Or­anges and cap­sicum are also high in Vi­ta­min C. Heat will re­duce the amount of vi­ta­min C so go raw when you can.

Seeds, nuts, and wheat­germ These con­tain Vi­ta­min E, which works to­gether with Vi­ta­min C to keep healthy tis­sue strong. Sun­flower seeds, al­monds, pe­cans, and veg­etable oils are good sources of Vi­ta­min E. Red meat and brazil nuts Se­le­nium and zinc are two key min­er­als that help the body ab­sorb an­tiox­i­dants and daily in­take of these min­er­als along with an­tiox­i­dants can aid in the pre­ven­tion of eye dis­eases. Zinc can be found in red meat, wheat germ and spinach. Se­le­nium can be found in brazil nuts, en­riched breads and seafood. Salmon and tuna

The omega-3 fatty acids that keep your heart and brain healthy may also pro­tect your eyes by fight­ing in­flam­ma­tion and help­ing cells work bet­ter. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in cold-wa­ter fish, such as salmon, as well as in freshly ground flaxseeds and wal­nuts. In­creas­ing Omega-3 in­take is of­ten help­ful in reliev­ing dry eye symp­toms.

Of course all of the vi­ta­mins and min­er­als men­tioned above are avail­able as sup­ple­ments and you can in­crease your in­take by tak­ing sup­ple­ments as well as eat­ing the right foods. It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber high dosages of vi­ta­mins and min­er­als might have neg­a­tive ef­fects on health so it is very im­por­tant to con­sult your doc­tor be­fore tak­ing a sup­ple­ment.

Eat­ing a diet rich in nu­tri­ents can help pre­vent eye disease.

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