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Food for your Eyes: Eat Healthy for a Better Vision

As a part of your eye care regime, it is very important to take care of your eyes by eating healthy and having a balanced diet regularly. Along with regular eye checkups, the essential nutrients should be supplied to the body to prevent problems like macular degeneration and cataracts.

Eye nutrition starts with a sound understanding of what is going to keep your eyes healthy and bright. When it comes to eye health, beta-carotene and Vitamin A, C, and E are the key contributors. Not only do they prevent cataract formation in the eyes, they also save the eyes from fatal consequences of macular degeneration. Read on to know more about the appropriate food for your eyes:

  1. Vitamin A can be found from two sources:
    • Animal Products containing Vitamin A (e.g. liver or butter)
    • Plant products that have carotene which the body can convert to Vitamin A. The vegetables containing carotene are yellow or orange in color, like carrot, or are green and leafy. Beta carotene-rich foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, cantaloupe, apricots and cherries are must for your eyes.
  2. Vitamin E which is very important for your eyes can be found in wheat germ, almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, peanut butter and avocados. Eat more of them not only for healthier eyes, but also for a glowing skin!
  3. For maintaining retinal health, Lutein and Zeaxanthin also play key roles. They help in delaying the changes in the retina but also have some specific protective properties as well. Green leafy vegetables abound in Lutein and Zeaxanthin, particularly spinach. Vegetables like kale and collard are also a rich source. Eat more of yellow and orange fruits and vegetables like corn to have your daily share of Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Swiss chard, watercress and persimmons are also rich sources.
  4. Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant needed for the retina and for delaying eye problems like cataract. If you are diabetic or have the habit of smoking or drinking, the intake of Vitamin C becomes all the more essential to maintain your eye-health. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits like berries, oranges, strawberries, kiwis and in bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, potatoes and green, leafy vegetables.
  5. One should also have a balanced amount of different minerals essential for the eyes, for example, Selenium. Selenium helps in absorbing vitamin E and also assists the body to produce its own antioxidants. Some foods that have the necessary amount of Selenium required by the body are Brazil nuts, yeast and seafood (like oysters). Ostrich (a very lean meat), turkey, pumpkin seeds and chick peas have a high amount of Zinc that helps the body to absorb vitamin A and prevent macular degeneration and night blindness. Wheat and nuts are a rich source of Zinc.
  6. Omega 3 fatty acids are also an essential ingredient to keep your eyes healthy and glowing. Wild salmon, sardines, Atlantic mackerel and omega-3-fortified eggs are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are high in both EPA and DHA. Some other alternate sources of Omega 3 fatty acids are vegetable oils and margarine. The evening primrose supplements also make for a considerable share.
  7. Along with the intake of healthy foods that will help improve your vision and maintain a sound eye health, you also need to cut down some unhealthy habits from your lifestyle. To prevent macular degeneration, stop smoking right away if you are in the habit of smoking. Also protect your eyes from the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun. Increase your intake of the foods that help prevent macular degeneration (and cataract also), like, vitamin C, vitamin E and Lutein/Zeaxanthin. Have a diet rich in two B vitamins — riboflavin (B2) and niacin (B3). Skimmed milk and low-fat yogurt, eggs, mushrooms and almonds have a considerable amount of Riboflavin in them while chicken and turkey breast, wild salmon, kidney beans and peanut butter are Niacin-rich foods.
  8. An extensive research on diabetic rats showed that tea — green or black, was beneficial to bring down the glucose levels in diabetic rats. It was also proved that tea-drinking rats had fewer instances of cataracts than the ‘non tea-drinking’ rats. Though the researches are still to yield any result for humans, there is no harm in having a cup or two daily!
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