We have all been told that eating carrots can improve your vision, but is this more than a myth? There seems to be a clear link to nutrition and eye health. Nutritional experts and scientists are looking at how nutrition can improve eye health and prevent diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.
There are currently no treatments for age-related macular degeneration, so Professor Ian Grierson, head of ophthalmology at the University of Liverpool, decided to investigate looked at ways to prevent this disease instead.
Macular degeneration has been linked with free radical damage, which can be neutralised by consuming more antioxidants in the diet. The macula is the part of the retina that is responsible for giving us colour and fine vision. Free radicals, from the environment, diet, smoking, stress or medications can damage these cells and eventually lead to loss of vision.
The good news is that we can help to prevent this disease with healthy eating or by adding a few supplements if necessary. Prof Grierson says, “Adding a little more fruit and vegetables to your meals could dramatically reduce eye disease in future.”
Nutrients for Healthy Eyes:
Beta – Carotene
The vegetable sources of vitamin A are known as carotenes. Natural sources of carotene are carrots, spinach, sweet peppers, dark green leafy vegetables and sweet potatoes. The carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin have been found to protect the macular from free radical damage.
This is a fat soluble vitamin that is a powerful antioxidant. As Vitamin E is fat soluble, it helps protects the eyes from UV (ultra violet) damage. Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds, soya and olive oil.
Vitamin C is a water soluble antioxidant that is very important for maintaining and promoting the growth of healthy collagen. This vitamin in found in many fruits and vegetables. Good sources are blackcurrants, citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, watercress, peppers and papaya.
Zinc is a very important mineral and antioxidant for maintaining good vision. This mineral is also very important for maintaining levels of Vitamin E in the body and helping the body to absorb Vitamin A. Natural sources of Zinc include almonds, peanuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds, corn and mung beans.
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