Eye Health Starts with a Healthy Diet
Did you know that the food you eat can contribute to good eye health later in live? A healthy diet can contribute to the longevity of your eyesight.
Good eye health is important. All too often people think that poor eyesight is just a natural part of ageing, there is some truth in this, however, there are steps that we can take earlier on in life to ensure that we continue to have good eye health in our later years.
On top of good nutrition, you should be having regular eye tests as well. All too often, we neglect our eyes, assuming that they are fine, but actually having regular eye tests will allow professionals to pick up on any possible general health concerns, and the early signs of any eye conditions that you can develop, even before you have experienced any symptoms.
Opticians recommend that you should have an eye test every two years; however, as you get older, particularly when you get over 40; or those from black or minority ethnic groups might require eye tests more often. These are free for children, and some adults are eligible for free tests as well. Of course, just because the optician recommends having a test every two years, if you notice any changes in your eye sight, or you have any concerns, it is important that you make an appointment sooner, to get it checked out.
Although everyone should be taking care of their eyes, and taking appropriate steps to ensure that they are maintaining eye health; some people are more at risk of developing eye disease. Age is a big factor, like we have previously discussed, and those who are aged 60 or over should be taking extra care; if you are from a certain ethnic group. We briefly touched on this, but those who are from Afro-Caribbean communities are much more likely to develop glaucoma and diabetes, and people from South-Asian communities are at a greater risk of developing diabetes, which can then lead to diabetic retinopathy; if you have a learning disability; or if you are from a family who has a history of eye disease.
Like we have said though; looking after your eyes, and eating nutrient packed food will boost your eye health, and reduce your risk of developing heart disease later on in life. Here are just some of the best foods that you should be eating.
We speak a lot about the benefits of fish, and how it is a really good food source for your overall health. This is because, oily fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. The reason that these are so beneficial, particularly to your eyes, is because it can reverse the effects of a dry eye. Whilst there are many causes for this, one of the most common is from spending too much time on a computer.
You should aim to include fish in your diet every week, and the best oily fish to eat, which contain the highest levels of omega-3, are; tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and herring.
Nuts and legumes:
Just like fatty fish, nuts are also a really great source of omega-3 fatty acids. On top of this, they also contain a really high level of vitamin E, which is really great at protecting the eye from damage that is related to ageing.
Just remember that you should eat nuts in moderation, so ensure that you are checking your portion size, but some nuts and legumes that are known for being good for your eye health include; walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, and lentils.
Again, seeds are a really great source of both omega-3 and vitamin E, which as we have already previously discussed are a great at preventing eye problems that are associated with ageing.
They are really versatile and can be added to most dishes, both sweet and savoury. The seeds that contain the highest levels of omega-3, include; chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds.
We have already explained that nutrient and vitamin rich foods are great for your overall health, so citrus fruits are a great food source, and are really packed full of vitamin C. Similar to vitamin E, vitamin C is an antioxidant, and is highly recommended by opticians, as a great way of helping to fight any damage that is caused by ageing.
Fruits that are really rich in vitamin C include; lemons, oranges, and grapefruits.
Leafy green vegetables:
Leafy green vegetables are essential for your overall health, because they are really rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as being a fantastic source of vitamin C.
Try and make sure you are getting good amounts of spinach, kale and collards.
I’m sure at one point or another growing up, we were all told that eating your carrots will make you see in the dark. Although, they do not give night vision per se, they are a fantastic food source for eye health.
They are rich in vitamin A, and beta carotene, which is what gives carrots their orange colour. It is the vitamin A, which is essential to our vision. It is a component of the protein known as rhodopsin, which helps the retina to absorb light.
Sweet potatoes are similar to carrots in that they are also rich in beta carotene, and a good source of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant.
Beef, surprisingly is really great at preserving and boosting your eye health. This is because it is really high in Zinc, which can help to delay age related sight loss and macular degeneration, which has been linked with better long-term eye health.
The eye contains very high levels of Zinc, particularly in the retina, so eating beef will help to boost these levels.
Although other meats, such as chicken breast and pork loin, also contain zinc, but at lower levels than beef.
Eggs are great for our health, which includes our eye health as well. Eating eggs can help to reduce the risk of age related sight loss, because they contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin.
On top of this, they are also really great sources of vitamin C, E and zinc.
Water is absolutely essential for good health. So, it really should come as no surprise that water is essential to your eye health.
Keeping hydrated will help to reduce the symptoms of dry eyes.