“The eyes are the windows to the soul” and that is why you should take proper care of them. Did you know that more than 250 million people are visually impaired worldwide; about 40 million are blind and near 250 million have low vision? And though with today’s medical achievements, majority of eyes’ illnesses can be cured, it is always better to do your part of the job. There are some things you cannot predict and prevent, but there are others which are within your power. You can start with protecting and improving the windows of your soul with the food on your plate. We will give you some basic guidelines to make that food work for your sight.
Eating Your Way to Better Sight
We already mentioned how diet plays an important role in your eyes’ health. Researchers have concluded that adding certain nutrients to your everyday diet will significantly improve your vision. Some of the most eye-friendly nutrients, according to them, are vitamin C, vitamin E, fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin and zinc. They can be found in various foods or supplements. Specific nutrients can improve specific eye conditions, and they should be chosen accordingly.
Prevent or Slow Down the Development of Cataracts
These cloudy areas in the eyes usually form slowly without causing any pain or redness, so you can never be sure whether they are up against you, until they start to make more serious problems. That is why you should try both to prevent them and slow down their progress. Increasing the intake of foods rich with vitamins C and B and antioxidants will be your best line of defense. Enrich your diet with large amounts of fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
Fighting Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is a medical condition that usually affects adults and older adults, causing the loss of vision in the center of the visual field. Proper nutrition is critical to prevent this problem and to treat it if it appears. When it comes to diet, age related macular degeneration treatment requires consumption of vitamin A, minerals, beta-carotene and antioxidants which can be found in carrots. Kale, as a lutein and zeaxanthin powerhouse is a great addition to every meal. Other useful foods you can try are blueberries, vitamin C rich foods (oranges, peppers, lemon, broccoli, etc), etc. Basically, the most important change in your diet should be increased amounts of food that is rich in antioxidants.
Treating Dry Eyes with Food
This condition happens when there is a lack of moisture and lubrication on the surface of the eyes. It can be really unpleasant and cause burning and itching. Aging, some medical conditions (diabetes, lupus, arthritis, etc), laser eye surgery, tear gland damage or some medications are common dry eye causes. To prevent or treat this problem with nutrition, you need to eat foods that contain essential fatty acids, potassium, zinc and antioxidants. So, we recommend eating a lot of cold-water fish, multicolored vegetables, berries, dark leafy plants, bananas, nuts, avocados, etc.
Glaucoma occurs when there is a progressive deterioration of the optic nerve and it is often linked to increased eye pressure. There are some nutrients that can help in preventing this condition or slowing down its progress. Antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are very helpful in fighting glaucoma and they can be found in spinach. Other useful nutrients are mineral zinc and vitamins A, C and E. Citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, cereals, eggs, carrots, milk, seafood and lean meat are great sources of these necessary nutrients.
Improving the Symptoms of Presbyopia
Unfortunately, we cannot cure presbyopia, no more than we can cure wrinkles. Loss of the eye’s ability to focus on the near objects (when reading) is a part of the natural aging process. Still, we can do our best to improve it and to minimize its symptoms. A healthy diet with vitamin supplements that are especially designed for supporting eye health is one way of doing it. Your nutrition plan should contain more omega-3 fatty acids (fish), vitamins A, C and E and zinc and lutein (eggs and corn).
Those were some of the most common eye problems and nutrients that are helpful in fighting them. Keep your eyes on the future and your plate full of these foods.
This article is contributed by Peter Minkoff