Eye nutrition might sound a bit crazy, but bear with us a minute. Did you know that simple dietary changes have been found to slow down the progression of eye diseases for which there’s no known cure?
Paying attention to your diet could hold the key to regular eyesight over low vision or blindness.
If you’ve never considered it before, then you now have even more reasons to get your kids – and yourself – consuming as many leafy greens as they can. Certain vitamins and micronutrients contain powerful properties which have been known to help fight against vision-taking diseases such as cataracts or age-related macular degeneration.
Even if your most recent annual eye exam hasn’t shown any ill-health in your eyes, there is no reason to ‘go easy’ on yourself – maintain a diet which is rich with eye-protecting nutrients and you better the odds of maintaining great eye health for a very long time!
There is a balance which must be struck between meal-based changes (i.e. improving the quality or variety of produce you’re buying from the supermarket) and the use of vitamin supplements. You can discuss this balance at length with your optometrist, who can offer advice specific to your needs, and focused around your lifestyle.
Kale is an exceptional leaf. Taste aside, it – and an assortment of other leafy greens, like spinach and turnip greens – are very high in lutein and zeaxanthin, two micronutrients which may protect against the development of age-related macular degeneration (aka AMD) and cataracts.
Studies suggest that women with a high lutein and zeaxanthin diet could be less likely develops cataracts than those who were lutein and zeaxanthin deficient, so there’s certainly no harm in adding it to your diet.*
It has been suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may help fight against certain eye diseases, such as ARMD and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Fuel from cold water fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna contain high levels of these acids, as do walnuts and certain fish oil supplements.
Vitamin C is very important for sustained, good eye health. This antioxidant is found in large quantities in all citrus fruits, so eating oranges will always be beneficial to your eyes. Consumption of vitamin C can contribute to slowing down or perhaps preventing the development of ARMD and cataracts.
Other foods such as peaches, peppers, kale and strawberries also offer high levels of vitamin C, so there’s lots of scope for including them in your diet!
If you aren’t familiar with the benefits of zinc, this may sound a little unusual. High quantities of zinc can be found in all sorts of different legumes, such as peanuts, black-eyed peas or kidney beans. Your eyes love zinc, and by including it in your diet, you can help protect your eyes from harm.
Long story short, good eye nutrition is probably the simplest way by which you can actively improve your eye health. Besides, eating well brings a host of other benefits which have nothing to do with your vision, so it’s a no-brainer, right?
If you have any questions, just arrange an appointment to see your optometrist, who will do their best to answer your questions.