It’s no secret that as we get older, our vision tends to deteriorate naturally; and once it’s gone, it’s usually gone. So it’s important to start early taking good care of our eyes to preserve our sight for as long as possible.
It’s also no secret that healthy eating is like healing to your body. Healthy foods contain exactly what your body needs to heal itself and keep the ailments of time and old age at bay. Read on for your eyes’ sake.
Beware of AMD
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a seemingly naturally occurring condition that affects the retinal center of the eye and gradually lessens one’s ability to see clearly, though it’s unclear why. More common than even cataracts, AMD is the leading cause of blindness among the elderly.
There are certain factors that seem to increase your risk of contracting AMD, including 1) having light eye color, 2) years of unprotected exposure to the sun, 3) being a smoker, 4) being far-sighted, and 5) having a family history of AMD or heart disease.
In extreme cases, permanent loss of vision could occur in a matter of days or weeks, so AMD is something you will really want to try to evade if you can. Diet is one of those ways you can play an active part in protecting yourself from this disease.
Wine – The flavonoids in wine, especially the red kind, have been shown to be a great defense against AMD, so like you’ve probably often heard, one to two glasses of wine per day is actually very good for you.
Carotenoids – Antioxidant chemicals called carotenoids, particularly found in colorful fruits and vegetables, guard your eyes from light and UV ray damage. Vegetables like corn, spinach, zucchini and collard greens contain a carotenoid called lutein, which goes straight to the center of the eye (the macula) where AMD does the most damage and acts as a barrier against sun and light ray damage.
Zeaxanthin is another carotenoid that you can find in foods like kiwi, squash, orange peppers and egg yolk, which works just like lutein in shielding the macula from harmful light.
Fatty Fish – The omega-3 fatty acids in coldwater, fatty fish like salmon and tuna helps to protect the retina from damage and restore cells that have already been affected. One word of caution is not to overdo it in the fish department, because too much fish impedes the process of vitamin E in the body, which also protects the eyes.
Zinc – Zinc deficiency increases your risk for developing AMD, which makes sense because zinc probably targets the retinas more so than any other part of the body and knocks out those pesky free radicals there that would seek to destroy your vision. If you want to add more zinc to your diet, eat more seafood, poultry, beef, yogurt, whole-grain breads and soybeans.
Vitamins and minerals – Vitamins C and E also have lots of antioxidant power that fires away at free radicals in the retina until they are dead. Selenium partners with vitamin E and provides even more protection. To get these benefits, spruce up your diet with more meat, seafood, veggies, fruits and whole grains.