Eye nutrition is important. Did you know that there are five essential nutrients that help promote healthy vision and may reduce the risk of eye disease? Certain studies have shown that taking an antioxidant or vitamin supplement can reduce the risk of advanced AMD progression and visual acuity loss. Since not all of these nutrients are created in the body, it is crucial to get these nutrients from diet or supplements. Here is a list of the 5 essential nutrients for healthy eyes and what patients should eat:
Lutein With Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are nutrients that are naturally found together in foods such as leafy spinach, kale, eggs, and corn. These two nutrients act as antioxidants by helping protect and maintain healthy cells in the eye. The amount of lutein and zeaxanthin deposited in the macula can be measured macular pigment potical density (MPOD). Research has shown that higher levels of MPOD can increase levels of visual range and visual performance. Studies have also shown that patients with higher levels of MPOD have a greater tolerance for the intensity of glaring light and a shorter recovery time from glare.
Foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin are: spinach, collard greens, corn, eggs, turnips, green peas, broccoli, and oranges.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is typically found in fruits and vegetables. It helps promote healthy capillaries, cartilage, and iron absorption. It helps support the health of ocular blood vessels too. When taken in combination with other essential nutrients, evidence has shown that vitamin C can slow the progression of AMD and visual acuity loss. Vitamin C can also lowers the risk of developing cataracts.
Good sources of vitamin C are: oranges, orange juice, grapefruit, spinach, bananas, apples, and peaches.
Vitamin E isn’t just great for your skin, it is a powerful antioxidant for your eyes too. It helps promote the health of cell membranes and DNA repair. It not only helps promote a healthy immune system, it can also slow the progression of AMD and visual acuity loss when taken in combination with other essential nutrients.
Make sure to get your intake of vitamin E by eating the following foods: sweet potatoes, almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts and peanut butter.
Dietary fats like DHA and EPA are necessary building blocks of fat molecules. They are important for visual development and retinal function. In fact, low levels of DHA and EPA have been linked to dry eye syndrome and associated with eye diseases such as AMD and diabetic retinopathy.
In order to get your share of DHA and EPA, eat: tuna, salmon, mackerel, trout, anchovies or scallops.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral that helps your eyes by slowing the progression of AMD and visual acuity loss. It is known as a helper molecule because it helps bring vitamin A from the liver to the retina in order produce melanin. Melanin is a protective pigment in the eyes. This mineral is recommended for individuals who are diagnosed with a high risk for AMD. Deficiencies in zinc has been linked to impaired vision, poor night vision, and cloudy cataracts.
Some zinc rich foods are: lobster, beef, pork, yogurt, salmon, milk and eggs.
For more eye nutrition tips, make sure to speak with an eye doctor. An eye doctor can assess what is best for your eyes and health.