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A feast for the eyes: nutrition and your vision

Keeping an eye out for the right foods to protect your vision and eye health is easier than you think explains Marry Cotter.

Eye health

There’s a strong link between good nutrition and reduced risk of eye diseases such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma. Here’s the nutrients that will help and where to find them:

Vitamin A

A key ingredient for healthy eyes, more specifically, the two specific carotenoid forms of vitamin A: lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids are found inside the retina of the human eye and help protect the retina and cornea, and defend against age-related eye disorders.

Get it from spinach, kale, beet greens (the leaves of the beetroot), carrots, squash, pumpkin and Swiss chard.

Betalains

Help protect the specialised nerve signalling that is vital for communication between the eyes and brain.

Get it from Swiss chard, beetroot and rhubarb.

Antioxidants

Protect the body against free-radical damage and keep cells healthy. This may reduce the risk of cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Get it from green tea, tumeric and garlic.

Astaxanthin

These marine algae is the compound that gives flamingos their lovely pink colour. Prawns and Pacific salmon also derive their colouring from astaxanthin. Eat two to three times a week to support eye health.

Get it from salmon and prawns.

Strawberries

Vitamin C

Studies have shown that nerves in the eye require vitamin C to function properly.

Get it from strawberries, kiwi, raw peppers, spinach, broccoli and carrot.

Vitamin E

This is another potent antioxidant that may reduce oxidation in the eye and support eye health.

Get it from avocado, raw almonds and sunflower seeds.

Zinc

High levels of zinc are found in the retina so healthy levels are thought to help maintain good eye health.

Get it from sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.

Lifestyle tips

In addition to eating well to protect your vision, make sure that you get your eyes tested every two years – even if you think your vision is fine.

As some eye conditions can be hereditary, speak to your relatives about your family history and inform your eye health professional of any concerns.

Excessive UV exposure can increase your risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration, so be safe in the sun by protecting your eyes with good quality sunglasses which bear British Standard marks.

Marry Cotter is a Nutritional Therapist, for more information about your eye health visit Nuffield Health.

Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by 10:43 am Health

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