Of all the five senses, your eyesight and vision is probably one of the most important. Eyes are the window to the beautiful world around you, but as you age, the health of your eyes starts to decline. But with the right food and nutrition you can maximize your eye health and maintain your vision. This article lists some of the common eye conditions and the nutrients that maximize your eye health.
The risk of developing an eye disease increases as you grow older. Here are some of the common eye conditions:
Listed below are the nutrients that can optimize your eye health:
Vitamin A deficiency can cause serious eye problems, and in more serious conditions even blindness. Vitamin A is needed for the maintenance of the light sensitive cells also known as photo receptors. Low levels of vitamin A can cause dry eyes and night blindness.
Vitamin A is only found in animal derived foods like liver, egg yolk, and dairy products. However, there are some plant foods that can also provide with vitamin A, these are called pro-vitamin A, as they are converted to vitamin A inside the body. Foods rich in pro-vitamin A include Kale, spinach, and carrots.
The long chained fatty acids EPA and DHA have important role in maintenance of eye health. DHA is found in high amounts in the retina where it helps in maintaining visual function. It is also important for brain and eye development in infancy, its efficiency can lead to vision problems especially in children.
There is some research that shows that omega-3 fats can help in dry eye condition, in which the eyes do not produce enough tears and can lead to discomfort and vision problems. One study found that people with dry eye condition had a significant reduction in symptoms when they were given DHA and EPA supplements for 3 months.
Omega-3 fats may help reduce the risk of other eye diseases. One study in diabetics found that taking a 500mg supplement of DHA and EPA daily reduced the risk of diabetic retinopathy. In contrast, omega-3 supplements do not helped people with macular degeneration. The dietary sources of omega-3 fats include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel etc. The supplements of omega-3 are also easily available.
The eyes require antioxidants more than any other part of the body for functioning. Vitamin C is especially important. Research shows that the concentration of the vitamin C was the highest in the aqueous humor of the eye than any other bodily fluid. The concentration of vitamin C in aqueous humor is proportional to the dietary intake of this antioxidant, which means that its concentration increases in the aqueous humor if you increase its intake in food.
Some observational studies show that people with cataracts had low antioxidants status. It was also seen that people who took vitamin C were at a reduced risk of developing cataracts. Vitamin C plays important role in the functioning of the eyes but more research is needed to know if it provides protection in people who are not efficient in it. The good sources of vitamin C include guavas, citrus fruits, kale, broccoli etc.
It is a fat soluble vitamin. It protects fatty acids from harmful oxidation the retinas of the eye are high in fatty acids. Vitamin E plays an important role in its functioning and health. Severe efficiency of this vitamin can lead to vision problems and blindness but it is unclear if vitamin E supplements make any difference if you are already getting enough from the diet.
A meta-analysis of some observational studies show that taking more than 7mg of vitamin E reduce the risk of developing cataracts by 6%. However randomized trials show that vitamin E supplements cannot slow or reduce the risk or progression of cataracts. The good sources of vitamin E include almonds; sunflower seeds and vegetable oils like flex seed oil.
Zinc is a part of many essential enzymes in the body. One of which acts as an antioxidant is superoxide dismutase. In one study, elderly people with early macular degeneration were given zinc supplements, the vision sharpness of the participants increased and the progression of the disease slowed down better than those who got a placebo.
However, more research is needed before any conclusions can be made. The best sources of zinc include oysters, pumpkins and meat. Enjoy foods rich in these nutrients to enjoy sharp vision lifelong and reduce the risk of any possible eye conditions.
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