We often hear about nutrition needed for a healthy heart, for diabetes or for special diets such as gluten-free, however nutrition is also important for eye health. While nutrition by itself will not keep your vision clear, it definitely can help.
Like the rest of the body, nutrients from the foods we eat nourish the eyes from our bloodstream. Keeping eye tissue healthy can prevent the onset of some eye impairments and degeneration as well as keep eye function at its best.
A diet that is full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and proteins is good for the entire body and that includes the eyes.
Vitamins, minerals, proteins and trace elements are beneficial to overall eye health by feeding the cells that form the eye and the protective tissue around the eye.
A diet low in sugar and high in dark, green leafy vegetables prevents heart disease and diabetes which can affect eye health. Diabetes especially can lead to reduced vision and blindness if not controlled. Lutein and Zeaxanthin found in eggs and green leafy vegetables can slow the progression of macular degeneration from age.
Beyond a healthy diet in general, specific vitamins are beneficial to eye health.
- Vitamin C appears to help in the prevention of cataracts which impair vision and tend to appear in senior adults as they age. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits and several vegetables. Americans in general only consume approximately a third of the recommended Vitamin C allotment per day. Diabetes increases the need for Vitamin C that is needed to maintain eye health.
- Vitamin Ddeficiency has been linked to increased risk for macular degeneration caused by age.
- Vitamin E along with beta-carotene is helpful for slowing and preventing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- Vitamin A is also important to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Vitamin A should be consumed with fat for maximum absorption. Foods high in vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, winter squashes, lettuce and tropical fruits.
While consuming vitamins in food is the best way to ingest them, most Americans do not eat enough vegetables and fruits to get the levels needed. Therefore, supplements are recommended to maintain ideal vitamin levels for eye health.
Zinc is the primary mineral that is needed to maintain healthy eyes. In individuals at risk for AMD, a regular diet high in zinc along with vitamins C, E and beta-carotene will promote eye health and overall health for all adults. Zinc helps promote visual acuity and slows the onset of age-related macular degeneration.
Our staff at Eye Care Institute would be happy to answer any questions you may have about eye health. Please call us in Santa Rosa or Petaluma or complete our contact form below.