As we age, our bodies need more and more vital nutrients to help our body’s systems work to their full potential. Good nutrition can help delay or even prevent certain eye problems and diseases. Some eye diseases and conditions are age related, such as age related macular degeneration and cataracts. These are the two most common causes of vision impairment as we age. That is why it is important to “eat for your eyes”.
Your Diet And Eye Health!
There are many things that we can do to help protect our eyes. If you smoke, stop. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays. Wear sunglasses! and most of all, get regular eye check-ups. These regular eye examinations can help protect your eyes, by detecting eye problems in the early stages. This can help prevent them from causing damage to eye health and vision, before it’s too late.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Diet and eye health go hand in hand. Because of this, our diet plays and important role in eye health and our over health. Because of this, having a healthy diet is and extremely important part of our daily lifestyle choices. The foods we eat and the vitamin supplements we take, effect our overall body health and the health of our eyes.
Consuming foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats, not only makes our waist lines bigger, but it also puts our eye health at risk. A diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables (especially green veggies), may help to prevent certain eye diseases.
What Is A Healthy Diet?
People who eat a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, healthy proteins, omega 3 fatty acids, and lutein, often have a smaller chance at developing diseases that can impact eye health. Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cataracts and age related macular degeneration are less likely to strike a person who lives a healthy life style. However, genetic factors do play into one’s health, so living healthy doesn’t always grant you a clean bill of health. That is why, healthy lifestyle or not, it is still very important to have regular health evaluations.
Eat Your Fruits And Veggies
A healthy diet consists of lots of lush colourful fruits and vegetables. The Canadian food guide recommends 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Brightly coloured fruits and veggies contain antioxidants which help protect your eyes by reducing free radicals that can cause age related problems. Also found in veggies and fruits is lutein. Lutein is a plant pigment that has been shown to protect the retina from changes cause by ultraviolet light. Green leafy veggies such as spinach and kale (superfoods) are excellent sources of lutein. Foods such as corn, peas, broccoli and brussel sprouts, are also great sources.
Eat according to the Canadian food guide. When consuming carbohydrates in the form of breads, choose whole wheat. Also eat lots of grains and cereals. Add healthy fat to your diet. Eat foods that contain healthy fat, such as avacados and nuts. Eat omegas. Foods rich in omega 3s are fish, flaxseed oils, and nuts. Choose good sources of protein. Limit your intake of saturated fatty foods from red meat. As eating red meats may increase your risk of macular degeneration. Choose lean meats, nuts, beans, and eggs as a good source of protein.
Eat Less Salt And Drink More Water
Limit your intake of salt (sodium). Not only can salt increase blood pressure, but it is also thought to increase the risk of cataracts. Staying hydrated is an important part of body health!
Take Care Of You
By taking care of your body and what you put into it, you will give yourself the best chance to ensure your eyes last you a lifetime. When at your next eye examination, discuss with your optometrist your diet as they can recommend supplements to take to help preserve vision and eye health.
Article written by: Karen McAulay