Nutrition and diet affect all aspects of our wellness. As we age, however, key nutrients and foods become even more crucial to help protect against serious illness that can cause aging eye health concerns such as macular degeneration, presbyopia, blepharitis, cataracts and glaucoma. The lens, nerves and smooth surfaces of the eye are all subject to the normal aging process and free radical damage.
And while certain antioxidants offer your eyes superior protection, another very important reason to focus on eating a well-balanced diet is to maintain weight and help reduce your likelihood of developing diabetes, the leading cause of blindness in older adults.
Avoiding refined sugars and processed foods such as high-sugar cereals, pastries, white breads and white rice can help minimize both free radical damage to the eyes as well as diabetes risk.
Let’s explore the top six nutrients and foods that can maximize eye health and help prevent damaging effects of the eye aging process.
1. Essential Omega 3 Fatty Acids
A 2012 study in The Journal of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science highlighted omega-3 fatty acids for their preventive effects of aging eye concerns. Essential fatty acids help nerves and muscles that control eye movement and are easy to include in your diet.
Try eating the following:
- Salmon, tuna and other oily fish and seafood such as anchovies, krill and sardines
- Non-animal sources including hemp, flax and chia seeds
2. Vitamin A
It’s an oldie but a goodie: vitamin A it critical for eye health. Essential for the retina to perform properly and maintain elasticity of the lens, a deficiency of vitamin A could actually cause eye problems such as presbyopia. Presbyopia is when the lens loses elasticity, but this condition can often easily be corrected with the use of contact lenses. Foods rich in vitamin A include sweet potatoes, beef liver, herring, cantaloupe, cod liver oil and carrots.
To help protect aging eyes against macular degeneration and cataracts, consume high levels of lutein-containing foods such as kale, collards, broccoli, eggs and green beans.
4. Vitamin B12
Responsible for nerve health of the eye, vitamin B12 is found in foods such as beef, eggs, mackerel and crab. Found sparingly in vegetables, vegetarians and vegans may need to supplement beyond food. If you consider a B12 supplement, be sure to opt for the active form methylcobalamin for optimal absorption.
5. Vitamin C
The American Optometric Association suggests that vitamin C can improve visual acuity. Vitamin C is abundant and easy to reap from watermelon, oranges, mangoes, papaya, red peppers and kiwi.
Magnesium is responsible for helping conditions like presbyopia and macular degeneration where ocular muscles have become weakened. Try consuming kidney beans, wheat germ, peanuts and lentils as well as green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and collards. The chlorophyll compound cages a magnesium, so any green veggie offers up a nice boost of this eye-protecting mineral.
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To Your Good Health,
Dr Elena M Morreale
For More Information: Call Dr Elena Morreale (Alternative Cancer and Health Therapies, Tampa, FL) .
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.