Did you know that balanced nutrition can actually save vision? Nutrition plays a critical role when it comes to eye health, and this month we’re shedding light on this importance. From foods rich in specific vitamins to plant and seafood-based options, we’re highlighting how nutrition and vision go hand in hand.
Focus on Antioxidants
You may be familiar with the term “antioxidants”, but unfamiliar on how antioxidants directly impact eye health. Antioxidants are foods that keep the body healthy by delaying or slowing down oxidation, a primary cause of aging and cell death. As it relates to eyesight, our experts have found that the process of oxidation can lead to cataracts by causing changes to fats and proteins in the eye’s lens, making them cloudy.
The good news is that fruits and vegetables are primary sources of antioxidants, and can help prevent vision loss, particularly vision loss from cataracts. Foods rich in vitamin A, C, and E, carotenoids, lutein and zexanthin, and selenium are all excellent healthy options to help protect cells from damage. Foods that provide a good source of antioxidants include: broccoli, avocado, sweet potato, blueberries and strawberries, among many others.
Emphasize Plant and Seafood-Based Diets
Studies show that plant and seafood-based dietary options, also known as the Mediterranean diet, may reduce the risk of vision issues, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Foods included in these diets are:
- Green, leafy vegetables and colorful fruits
- Tree nuts – almonds, cashews, walnuts
- Seafood as the primary meat source
- Healthy fats
- Whole grain bread, pasta, and cereal
- Adding herbs and spices for flavor, instead of salt
- Limiting dairy and egg intake
Research confirms that adopting a Mediterranean diet similar to the above, coupled with regular, comprehensive eye exams, offers a greater opportunity to help slow or potentially stop vision loss that may result from AMD.
Incorporate Healthy Fats
Another common complaint we hear from patients is about dry, scratchy eyes. Again, since vision and nutrition are so closely linked, it is unsurprising that there is a recommended solution to help treat and prevent dry eyes. Our team has found that recommending more healthy fats in a patient’s diet can aid in increased eye moisture and tear production.
Adding omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to overall nutrition can include:
- Oily fish, such as salmon, trout, and sardines
- Nuts, such as walnuts
- Oils, in particular sunflower oil
By adding these types of foods to a diet, patients will likely experience a reduction of dry eye and a reduced risk of developing AMD. Eating fish specifically at least twice a week is a good barometer to follow for vision and overall body health.
The next time you are at the grocery store, or you’re meal planning for the week, keep in mind what foods you are selecting and how they can benefit your eye health. Our team of experts is available to counsel you through the nutrition process, in support of living a healthier lifestyle and having optimal vision health. Contact us today to have any questions answered and get expert direction for your unique vision journey.