Looking for Better Eye Health? Look to Your Nutrition
By Nutritional Weight & Wellness Staff
July 21, 2015
Have you ever thought about how your food choices relate to your vision? Eyesight is something that is easy to take for granted until something begins to change. So how do you protect this wonderful sense? It starts with food.
First, let’s talk about what not to eat
If you been reading our blog posts for any length of time, you know sugar and processed carbohydrates are a problem! Chips, crackers, cereal, and bagels are examples of carbohydrates that turn into sugar very fast. Or what about a pasta dinner with a couple glasses of wine followed by a slice of chocolate cake? This carbohydrate-rich meal will also fill your blood vessels with sugar. High blood sugar has a damaging effect on the vessels in the eye, leading to scarring and damage to the supporting proteins in the retina. Diabetes is often associated with loss of vision, and for good reason, as it is the leading cause of blindness in adults. Sadly, even day-to-day high-carbohydrate eating over time can produce blood vessel damage. Avoid chips, soda, candy, bowls of pasta and cereal to protect your eyesight.
Eating for optimal eye health
The good news is eating for great eye health can be fun for your taste buds too. There are several nutrients that are found in higher concentrations in the eye such as the fatty acid DHA, zinc and vitamin A. Vitamins E and C protect the retina from damage and, when included in the diet in adequate amounts, help prevent cataracts. These are all of great benefit to your eyes. Here are some ways you can incorporate these nutrients into your diet:
Serve yourself eggs, half a sweet potato, and spinach sautéed in grass-fed butter.
Eggs from pasture-raised chickens contain a powerful eye support called DHA. This fatty acid supports the retina of your eye and is also helpful in keeping your eye tissue pliable. Eggs also contain lutein, another retina support. Sweet potato and spinach provide carotenoids and vitamin C. Grass-fed butter contains vitamin A, needed for normal functioning of the retina.
Try salmon filet over a bed of greens with strawberries or orange slices and pumpkin seeds.
This lunch provides you with DHA, vitamins C and E, and zinc.
How about a grass-fed burger topped with avocado and sundried tomatoes? Serve with roasted broccoli or grilled asparagus topped with grass-fed butter and sea salt.
Not only is this dinner appetizing, it’s also rich in vitamins C, E, and A as well as zinc, DHA, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Supplements that can help
Getting the majority of your nutrients from food sources is best for your eyes, however, certain supplements may be effective in relieving dry eyes and protecting eyesight.
DHA and Omega-3s
Omega-3s play an important role in eye health. A study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that diets higher in fish or omega-3s helped to promote macular health. DHA is the component of fish oil that is concentrated in the retina of the eye and helps promote healthy retinal function. Omega-3s may also reduce dry eye syndrome, a chronic condition of the eye resulting from a decrease in tear production.
4 Sight is a comprehensive product for eyes. It provides antioxidant support for the eyes that protects against macula light damage. It contains alpha lipoic acid, a nutrient that has been shown to increase vitamin C and E levels which are protective of eye health. Alpha lipoic acid may also lower blood sugar. It also contains ginko biloba which acts as an antioxidant and improves circulation, allowing for more nutrients to reach the eye. The carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein are included in effective dosages for your eyes (many eye health supplements on the market contain these carotenoids but at lower, ineffective concentrations). 4 Sight also has bilberry extract, which contains a high amount of antioxidants known as anthocyanadins. Bilberry has been found to support night vision and supports the renewal of eye cells.
If you are worried about macular degeneration, taking two capsules a day is a great preventive measure in combination with the diet changes mentioned above. For dry eyes and cataracts, one per day is usually sufficient.
Eyebright Drops contain an herb named eyebright, along with MSM, that helps to cleanse and moisturize the eye. This is a great product for those looking for more moisture in their eyes.
Most people don’t realize the importance of nutrition when it comes to eye health. Remember to replace processed high sugar foods with real protein, vegetables, and real fat. With over 50 percent of people having cataracts and one-third of us with dry eye, we need to do a better job of protecting our eyes. The good news is that real food nutrition is what our bodies respond to. Begin today! Start making a difference in your vision and eye health by changing what you put in your mouth.
We love to hear from you! What have you done to improve your eye health?