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The Connection Between Food & Eye Health

Tis the season of food, food, and more FOOD! With so many tasty treats and yummy temptations during the holiday season, it’s easy to overindulge! We know that too many sweets aren’t kind to the waistline. But, can what you eat really affect your vision and eye health as well? When it comes to vision and the health of your eyes, it’s important to know ALL the facts. In this weeks blog article, we will explore the connection between food and eye health.

You know how the old saying goes, “you are what you eat!” Most people know that to maintain a healthy body, you have to fuel it with healthy foods. Eating junk may cause a person to put on the pounds, but will it have any impact on vision and eye health? Let’s explore the connection between food and eye health!

The Connection Between Food And Eye Health

So many foods contain nutrition which is essential for eye health. Orange foods, such as carrots and pumpkins contain nutrition such as beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is important for eye health because it is converted into vitamin A. Vitamin A has an important role in eye health as it helps to protect our cornea (the front surface of the eyes). It also helps promote healthy vision and is even used for dry eye treatment.

Other foods such as citrus foods are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is not only good for the immune system but is good for eye health as well! Getting your recommended daily dose of Vitamin C helps reduce the risks of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.

Other nutrition which we get from foods that help with eye health are omega fatty acids from things such as fish and nuts. As well as certain antioxidants which protect eye tissue from free radicals. So, all the nutrition taken in by eating good healthy foods goes to good use to help keep our vision and eyes healthy. So what happens if we just eat junk?

Vitamins And Vitamin Deficiencies

Some people think that the solution to getting all the nutrition and vitamins that their body needs is to take vitamin supplements. But studies have shown that vitamin supplements are not an effective substitute for the nutrition and vitamins that we get from food. It is best if a person has all of their nutrition needs met by their diet before adding vitamin supplements. So basically what we’re trying to say is that eating junk all day and taking vitamins doesn’t count as a healthy diet.

There are many situations where vitamin supplements are needed and can be of benefit to a person. This is especially true for people who have vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Before taking vitamin supplements it is a good idea to consult with a healthcare practitioner, such as your pharmacist or doctor.

Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children. It’s estimated that up to half a million vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year!

The Big Picture – Your Whole Body!

The connection between food and eye health isn’t so black and white. Because the whole body is connected, it goes well beyond just eye health. A person who indulges in an unhealthy lifestyle, like eating a lot of processed and refined foods, smoking, or parting in other unhealthy lifestyle choices increases their chance of developing other health issues. Many health issues cause secondary problems that relate to vision and eye health.

Type 2 diabetes is a good example of this. Type 2 diabetes is a disease which primarily affects how our body metabolizes sugars and has a strong relationship with both diet and exercise. Complications due to diabetes are very serious. Diabetic retinopathy can affect the eyes as a result of diabetes. It is very serious as it can cause vision loss and even lead to blindness!

You Are What You Eat!

In conclusion, food is needed for more than just satisfying hunger. The essential vitamins and nutrients found in food really do help keep our eyes and the rest of our body healthy. Because of this, it is important to make smart food choices. Eating a well-balanced diet with a good selection and variety of foods will help to ensure that your body (eyes included) gets the nutrition with they need. So the next time you go to put something into your mouth, just remember there is some truth in the saying “you are what you eat!”

Article was written by Trina Vanaalst, licensed optician and registered contact lens practitioner.

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