Want to See Better? Eat Better

Eating a healthy, organic and varied diet is imperative to optimal eye health. The vitamins, minerals and carotenoids contained in certain foods have been linked to the prevention of cataracts, eye disorders and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

A variety of vitamins and minerals are essential to maintaining healthy eyes, as they are needed by the body to help prevent damage caused by UV light rays. According to Professor Ian Grierson, the head of ophthalmology at the University of Liverpool, along with vitamins A, C, E and zinc, carotenoids are key to eye health and the prevention of sight loss.

Professor Grierson calls the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, “the macula’s sunglasses,” as they protect the macula by absorbing blue and near-ultraviolet light. These carotenoids are found in yellow and orange-colored vegetables, as well as in leafy greens such as spinach and kale. Professor Grierson recommends eating 6 milligrams of lutein per day for optimal eye health.

Another important nutrient associated with eye health is lycopene, which is found in tomatoes and watermelon. Lycopene has also been linked to aiding prostate cancer prevention.

eyeBoth lutein and lycopene are absorbed better by the body in combination with fats. So, when serving kale or heirloom tomatoes, for example, add a bit of grass-fed butter, organic olive oil or organic coconut oil to your dish.

Additionally, a study performed in 2004 at Ohio State University found that carotenoids, including lutein, were absorbed better by the body when combined with avocadoes and avocado oil.

Ophthalmologist David Allamby recommends foods rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for keeping eyes healthy. These essential fatty acids are found in oily fish, flax seeds and nuts. Dr. Allamby explains, “tear film has a layer of oil which helps keep water on the surface of the eye. If you are deficient in omega-3’s, you may suffer dry, uncomfortable eyes.”

With a variety of nutrient-rich and delicious foods to choose from, you can keep your eyes – and the rest of your body – in a state of optimal well-being.

-The Alternative Daily


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