Diet and nutrition are directly related to health and well-being. Eating well in general is essential for our bodies to function properly and this includes our eyes. Follow this 12-point plan to ensure optimum eye health.
1.Carrots aren’t only good for helping you see in the dark
The good old carrot myth may have some truth to it. Perhaps seeing in the dark isn’t so important to you, but carrots are essential for maintaining overall eye health. Containing large amounts of beta-carotene, rich in both Vitamin C and antioxidants, carrots help to keep eyes young and offer protection against diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.
2. Top up your Vitamin C
Foods rich in Vitamin C also offer many benefits to ocular health. It is found in all types of citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons and surprisingly, peppers. Red peppers in particular contain high concentrations of Vitamin C, more in fact than traditionally favoured sources of this vitamin.
3. Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables
High levels of antioxidants are found in leafy green vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and spinach. Antioxidants have a particular benefit to eye and overall health and can combat some of the conditions associated with ageing such as cataracts and visual degeneration. Vitamin E, which is also found in leafy greens, offers eyes good levels of protection from the sun’s harmful rays.
4. Nuts aren’t all bad
Nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts and peanuts are packed full of Vitamin E. The natural oils found in nuts and oils contain vitamins and minerals beneficial to eye health. Whilst nuts and oils can be good for hearts, care should be taken to consume them in small quantities as they also contain high levels of fats.
5. Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene
Tomatoes are a very versatile food. They are good with salads, in sauces used over pasta and are the main ingredient in ketchup. Tomatoes contain Vitamin C and both tomato ketchup and tomato purees contain highly concentrated levels of lycopene. Lycopene is beneficial for all parts of the body including eyes.
6. Garlic is not only good for the heart
Many are already aware of the benefits of garlic to the heart. It can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, which is also of great benefit to eye health. Normal levels of blood pressure help to maintain a good eye pressure and prevent the development of cataracts.
7. Zinc can slow or reduce the development of eye disease
Zinc is found in many foods, such as beans and pulses and is vital for the health of the retina. An optimum level of zinc intake is known to inhibit the development of macular degeneration, although it has been found that levels of consumption of this mineral reduce with age.
8.Eggs are a good source of important nutrients
Eggs contain high levels of Vitamin A amongst other important minerals. This vitamin is vital to eye health and overall cell renewal. A lack of Vitamin A means that the retina can struggle to adapt to seeing in the dark and can eventually lead to permanent blindness.
9. Oily fish can help to prevent age related eye disease
Fish such as salmon and mackerel contain high levels of Omega 3, which is essential for many brain functions. Research has shown that increasing the average intake of oily fish can help to slow down or prevent macular degeneration.
10. Too much of a good thing can actually have the opposite effect
Whilst the benefits of certain foods on eye health are clear, it is worth noting that consuming too much can negate the positive effects. Eating too many nuts and eggs can increase levels of cholesterol, which leads to high blood pressure. In turn, this can increase pressure around the eye and become harmful. 11. Aim for a balanced diet
Consuming five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is incredibly important. The ageing process affects your eyes and blurry vision is often the first sign of deterioration. However, eating well and maintaining a healthy diet can help to limit the effects of ageing on the eyes.12. Eating for good eye health is good for your overall health
A well balanced and nutritious diet is, without doubt, beneficial to our overall health including the heart and brain. Many of the vitamins and minerals recommended for optimum eye health are also essential for well functioning bodies.By following these tips, anyone at risk of eye disease or age related visual deterioration might be able to limit the damage. Incorporating a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables into diets benefits eye health and also has positive effects on the rest of the body.
Shannen writes regularly on eye disease and preventative measures for a range of health websites and blogs including GetLenses. She also has an interest in diet and nutrition.
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