Did you know… more than 13 million people in the U.S alone suffer from macular degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in American’s 55 years and older. Macular degeneration affects more people than cataracts and glaucoma combined.
So, what causes this frightening disease? It’s triggered by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, which is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye. It controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces, colors, and see objects in fine detail.
None of us wants our clear vision to be destroyed by this age-related disease. American Macular Degeneration Foundation magazine found that according to polls, Americans dread blindness more than any other disability.
From a nutritional standpoint, are there certain foods good for eye health?
A large-scale research project conducted by the National Eye Institute has shown that are several key nutrients that can help protect your precious eyes and keep your vision on point.
These foods good for eye health are rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and omega-3s.
Focusing on Foods Good for Eye Health
Our mothers always told us to eat carrots because they were great for our eyes… and they were right!
Carrots, actually the carotenoids that give carrots their bright orange color, are extremely efficient in protecting the retina against degenerative eye conditions.
But carrots are not nearly as effective as spinach, which contains high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. These two antioxidants are found naturally in high concentrations your eyes. They act like a sunscreen for your eyes because they absorb 40 – 90% of blue light intensity.
Eating foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can increase the pigment density within the macula. This increase means enhanced retina protection and lowers risk of macular diseases.
Besides spinach, other green leafy vegetables rich in these two sight-enhancing antioxidants are kale, collard greens, turnip greens, and broccoli.
Another antioxidant that controls the effects of macular degeneration is lycopene. Lycopene is a red carotenoid, abundant in tomatoes but you can also find it in pink and red grapefruits and watermelon.
Interesting enough, cooking doesn’t damage lycopene. In fact, higher concentrations of this valuable antioxidant are found in cooked tomato sauce or paste rather than fresh tomatoes.
However, always read the labels on processed tomato products carefully and go for BPA-free cans. These products are generally very high in refined sugar.
Additional Foods Good for Eye Health:
- Sweet Potatoes: its bright-orange flesh makes beta-carotene come to your eyes rescue once again.
- Shellfish, Beef, Pork, Turkey, Salmon, Eggs and Live Culture Yogurt: all these food have high amounts of zinc. It’s considered a “helper” molecule since it’s crucial to get vitamin A from the liver to the retina. It is found in high concentrations of your eye and deficiencies can results in poor night vision and a higher risk of cataracts.
- Black or Green Tea: loaded with powerful antioxidants that may help, prevent or delay cataract development. Plus it’s a great (and simple) substitute for sugary beverages like soda or fruit drinks.
Our eyes are a good indicator of our inner body health and balance. Protect your “windows to the soul” by eating more of these foods packed with these vision-friendly nutrients.