Diet of colorful fruits, vegetables benefit eye health
by: Karen Wilcha
Do you have baby blues or puppy-dog browns? Do you have perfect 20/20 vision or are you nearsighted or farsighted?
Regardless of your eye color or if you need glasses, people tend to forget their eyes need good nutrition, too.
Eye-healthy nutrients in your diet can help prevent or reduce the risk of certain eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, cataract formation and glaucoma.
Lutein and zeaxanthin, important nutrients found in green leafy vegetables such as kale, collard greens, spinach and broccoli, are believed to protect eye tissue from sunlight damage and reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Just remember to add a sprinkle of healthful fat, such as olive oil to help absorb these nutrients.
Beta carotene, found in sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash and broccoli, may slow the progression of macular degeneration.
Your body converts beta carotene to vitamin A, a nutrient that helps prevent dry eyes and night blindness. Liver, milk and eggs are other great sources of vitamin A. Beta carotene and vitamin A are also absorbed better if taken with a healthful fat.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant. It is found in fruits such as oranges, cantaloupe and grapefruit, as well as vegetables such as broccoli and bell peppers. This antioxidant has been shown to lower the risk of developing cataracts.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help alleviate the problem of dry eyes. They also help maintain the integrity of the nervous system and boost the immune system. Healthy omega-3 fatty acids are found in walnuts, avocado, olive oil, flax seed, olives and salmon, or other types of fatty fish (two to three times per week).
Salmon is also a good source of vitamin D, which helps protect against macular degeneration. You can also get vitamin D from sardines, mackerel, milk and juices that are fortified with vitamin D.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant found in nuts, fortified cereals and sweet potatoes. This essential vitamin is thought to protect eye cells from free- radical molecules that can damage and break down healthy tissue……
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Source: Poughkeepsie Journal