Our eyes can often mirror our overall health condition. Problems in other areas, like the circulatory system can leave visible traces in the eyes. Similarly, the body’s condition in relation to antioxidants will have an effect on the eyes. Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a normal part of the aging process. AMD involves the growth of cataracts, defects in the lens of the eye. One way to stave off problems due to AMD, is through diet.
Diet is directly related to antioxidants. In a nationwide study tracking people from the ages of 40 to 70, those who consumed less than three servings of fruits and veggies a day had 5 times the risk of forming cataract than those who averaged higher than 3 servings of fruits and veggies daily. This illustrates just how important your diet is in relation to vision and eye health.
The Health of the Eye Lens
Our eyes are prone to long term damage from poor blood sugar management. Unhealthy blood sugar levels can place the body tissue under stress. This is why diet is such an important aspect of eye health.
There is plenty of evidence to show the importance of lutein and zeaxanthin for reducing the risk of lens damage as we get older. One such study conducted by the British Medical Journal looked at cataract information from a pool of 50,000 different women over a four year period. The results showed a direct correlation between eating spinach and a lower risk of developing macular degeneration. Much more so than foods like carrots, potatoes, vegetables, squash and other vegetables with little lutein.
The Journal of American Medicine ran a similar study that showed lutein rich foods like kale and spinach could help prevent macular degeneration. While both studies showed that a diet with sufficient lutein could help prevent cataract, there is no evidence suggesting that lutein to reverse existing cataract.
Eye Saving Antioxidants
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two critical antioxidants utilized by the body. Of all nutrients recommended to promote healthy eyes, these two are the most important. You can find them in a wide range of different foods and dietary supplements.
One of the central functions of lutein and zeaxanthin is to help fend off oxidative damage. Yellow colored carotenoids can be found in the retina and lens of the eye due to oxidative damage. They are also located in the skin and other tissues. The concentration of these substances decrease with age and need to be replaced through your diet.
Lutein/Zeaxanthin Rich Foods
· Collard Greens
· Green Peas
· Brussel Sprouts
· Green Beans
One food that is especially known to support eye health is bilberry. The bilberry is closely related to the American blueberry. It grows in Europe, Canada and North America. There are over one hundred species closely related. In England people know them as whortleberries while in the northern US people call them huckleberries.
The bilberry has been used for hundreds of years as a medicinal herb. Interest in the fruits gained popularity due to use by British pilots during WWII. Pilots reported an improvement in their night vision after they ate bilberry jam. In the following years scientists discovered that anthocyanosides, a bioflavonoid contained in bilberries is a powerful antioxidant. In Europe, bilberries are a common part of eye health.
Grape Seed and Ginkgo Biloba
Traditional Chinese and Indian healing methods employ thee use of these extracts from these plant. Grape seed extract and Ginkgo biloba have been known to improve blood flow and eye health for centuries. Both of these substances are a potent source of antioxidants. It’s often used to enhance memory, increase circulation and speed up reflex time.
The eyes are particularly at risk for age related deterioration. However, there proven dietary measures that you can take to protect your eyes. Eating dark green vegetables and fruits that are purple, blue or red can protect you. The key to incorporate these items into your diet. While dietary supplements can be a great addition to your diet, they are by no means a substitute for whole fruits and vegetables.
Your health care provider will work with you to determine what course of action is best for you. Total Home Health can connect you with experienced health care experts who are ready to help you live a long, healthy and fulfilling life. Join today to learn jumpstart a longer, healthier life.