Important nutrients your body needs to optimize eye health

eye nutrients

Proper diet and nutrition are essential for health and growth, and this also holds true for the eyes. A number of nutrients can help keep your eyes healthy, and some may even improve your eyesight. They are necessary for cellular regeneration, maintaining tissue health, and for fighting against diseases.

Here’s an article that walks you through the important nutrients that optimizes your eye health.

Eye diseases and diet plan.

The following diseases and their progression have been found to be linked with deficiency of certain micronutrients. These include cataract, night blindness, conjunctival and corneal xerosis, and Macular Degeneration (AMD).

Specific nutrients that promote eye health

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are specific micronutrients that combat the ill effects of free radicals and other oxidants in the eye and help ward off signs of ageing.

Vitamins

The most commonly researched antioxidants are vitamins A, C and E. They are found explicitly in fruits and vegetables, like oranges and other citrus fruits, tomatoes and in green leafy vegetables. These nutrients are also present in nuts, seeds, dairy products and other food types. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, along with selenium are the essential nutrients to reduce cataract risks and degeneration of macula.

Vitamin A cures night blindness, dry eyes (xerosis), and macular degeneration. And, Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that combats free radicals, supports healthy blood vessels, and prevents ultraviolet radiation-induced damage within the eye. Vitamins like Vitamin E is known to regulate enzyme activity, and help in neurological functions.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

These are the yellow plant pigments that are found in yellow and orange peppers, sweetcorn, saffron, kale, spinach and broccoli. Nutrients like Lutein and zeaxanthin cannot be produced by the human body, and have to be consumed as food.

Essential Fatty Acids

The two types of essential fatty acids that are responsible for eye health are Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids. They are necessary for the cellular development and in the formation of cellular membranes. They are known to improve the nerve conduction in the retina and prevent deterioration of cell membranes, thereby reducing the risk of vision loss due to macular degeneration and glaucoma. Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids are found in oily fish like salmon and halibut, in walnuts, flaxseed, soybean, and dark leafy vegetable. Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acids are available in linoleic acid, vegetable safflower, sunflower oil, and grape seeds.

Carotenoids

Carotenoids, especially, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, gamma-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin have an action similar to vitamin A activity. Astaxanthin is a fat-soluble carotenoid that is a very potent antioxidant and is known to decrease the risk of cataract, retinal detachments, and macular degeneration.

Minerals

Zinc, Chromium, Copper, and Selenium are essential minerals which are vital for eye health and help in rejuvenating the eye and improving vision

What should I eat for healthy eyes?

  • Whole grains and cereals help decrease the risk of age-related eye diseases.
  • Fatty acids are known to help prevent dry eyes and possibly cataracts.
  • Limit your consumption of saturated fats from red meats and dairy products that may increase your risk of macular degeneration. Lean meats, oily fish, nuts, legumes, and eggs are excellent sources of protein, which are also good sources of essential fatty acids.

A combination of a healthy, antioxidant-filled diet and annual visits to your eye doctor can help preserve your eye health and vision. So the next time you’re out grocery shopping or sitting down to a meal, make sure you’re choosing food that looks out for your eyes, too.

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