When it comes to staying healthy as we age, we tend to focus on our heart, brain and bones. However, healthy aging also involves seeing into the future. Taking care of your eyes is an important way to help prevent age-related eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, vision loss, dry eyes and cataracts. While an active lifestyle is important, protecting your eyes starts with looking at the food on your plate.
Studies have shown that nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc and vitamins C and E may help ward off age-related vision problems. Regularly eating certain foods can help you maintain good eye health.
Foods Rich in Antioxidants
Increasing your level of antioxidants can decrease the chance of developing macular degeneration. Antioxidants rich in vitamin C and E seem to especially protect against the disease. Grab some kiwi, broccoli, nuts and avocado to increase these levels. Foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin are also important. They’re mainly found in dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale and collards. Snacking on anthcyanin-rich blueberries and grapes which antioxidant plus anti-inflammatory properties can help improve your vision.
Enjoy cold fruit during the hot summer — oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and lemons are all high in vitamin C. An increased amount of vitamin C can potentially prevent or at least delay cataracts and macular degeneration. Other foods such as peaches, red peppers, tomatoes and strawberries can also help prevent these diseases.
Fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and cod are rich in DHA. DHA provides structural support to cell membranes to boost eye health. Don’t stop there: shellfish such as oysters and crab provide zinc which helps protect the retina and may also prevent macular degeneration.
Nuts and Seeds
Go nuts! Eating one ounce of sunflower seeds or almonds provides more than a third of the daily recommended value of vitamin E. Vitamin E helps protect the cells in our eyes from free radicals and slows the progression of cataracts and macular degeneration. Peanuts also pack plenty of vitamin E.
These are just a few of the specific foods and nutrients that can help to boost your eye health. Maintaining a balanced and varied diet of fruits and vegetables containing vitamins A, C, E and zinc can reduce the risk of macular degeneration and diabetes. To keep your eyes in top shape, follow many of the same guidelines suggested for maintaining a healthy heart — keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol in check, reducing saturated fat from your diet and taking control of your weight. Start reducing the risk of eye disease, improve sight and maintain good eye health now by watching what you eat!.
Doctor Gregg Feinerman is a world-renowned eye surgeon based inNewport Beach,California. As anOrangeCounty eye surgeon, he specializes in LASIK vision correction and cataract surgeries . He and his friendly, knowledgeable staff are available to help you achieve your optimal eye health needs at Feinerman Vision Center.