Enhancing Eye Health

Looking for natural ways to help boost your eye health? There are plenty of foods that can help you eat your way to healthy eyes and improved vision. Adding these foods to your diet now can help you maintain healthy eyes into your senior years.

If you are going to make just one change in your diet, adding more foods with antioxidants would be a great choice. Why? Because our cells are under constant attack by damaging, unstable molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are molecules in cells that become so weak from conditions such as toxins in the body, exposure to UV rays, chlorinated water, pollution, and overcooked, fried and processed foods, that they lose an electron. They then start taking electrons from other molecules and creating more free radicals. This damages body cells, enzymes, and DNA, and ends up creating pain, inflammation, and chronic diseases including damage to eyes and vision. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals before they start doing damage by replacing the electron they are missing. For healthy eyes in particular, some of the best antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, letein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin A which the body converts from foods with beta-carotene. These can help reduce the risk of getting cataracts, help prevent loss of vision, prevent night-blindness and age-related macular degeneration. According to Elizabeth J. Johnson, PhD, research scientist and associate professor at Tufts University in Boston, lutein and zeaxanthin are able to absorb light that can damage eyes by getting into your eyes’ lens and retina. So how do you get these antioxidants into your diet? Easy. For lutein and zeaxanthin, add leafy greens such as spinach and kale, egg yolks, oranges, collard or turnip greens, corn, green peas, broccoli, romaine lettuce, and green beans. To get more vitamin C, good food sources include oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green and red peppers, and leafy green vegetables. Nuts and seeds can give you the added vitamin E for healthy eyes. Just add foods like almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, and wheat germ to your diet. Good sources for vitamin A include pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and carrots.

If you need some help getting enough antioxidants into your diet, a whole foods supplement may be just what you need. This antioxidant and algae supplement is rich in chlorophyll, glutathione, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients from its combination of kale sprouts, red clover sprouts, wheat sprouts, concentrated wheat sprouts, and Dunaliella salina algae. As an added bonus, it is also organic, Kosher, Halal, vegan, dairy free, and GMO free and gives you SOD (Superoxide Dismutase) a type of enzymes that work in the body as antioxidants and research has shown is particularly good for the cornea of the eyes. Another whole foods antioxidant supplement is this stem cell support supplement made with natural antioxidants including wild blueberry, green tea, carnosine, and organic AFA bluegreen algae. Green tea is rich in polyphenols, flavonoids, and antioxidant catechins and studies have shown these can help fight off cellular oxidation from free radical damage even better than vitamins C and E. This supplement is also certified Halal, gluten free, dairy free, and GMO free.

According to Paul Dougherty, MD, medical director of Dougherty Laser Vision in Los Angeles, and other experts, besides lutein and zeaxanthin, zinc is a key nutrient for eye health, especially important to the retina of the eye and reducing the risk of macular degeneration, night blindness, and cataracts. Two oysters a day can give you the zinc you need to support healthy eyes. Other zinc sources include turkey, beef, pork, liver, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, whole grains, fortified cereals, sesame seeds, milk, yogurt, and miso.

Essential Fatty Acids
You probably know about the benefits of essential fatty acids such as omega-3 for keeping your heart and brain healthy, but your eyes can benefit from these too. Omega-3 fatty acids help the eyes in your cells and fight off inflammation. One of the best sources of omega-3 is coldwater fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, tuna, mackerel, trout, flounder, and halibut, but if you just can’t stand fish you can get your omega-3’s the way the fish do… from algae. AFA bluegreen algae not only has lots of the nutrients and vitamins the body and your eyes can use, it also has DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is found in your eye retina and according to Jimmy Lee, MD, director of refractive surgery at Montefiore Medical Center, in New York City can lead to dry eye syndrome if you don’t have enough. In making sure to get enough omega-3 fatty acids we also like this whole foods algae supplement that can help give you the benefits of nine different algae including dulse, kelp, fucoidan, Ecklonia cava, bladderwrack, Dunaliella salina, spirulina, chlorella and AFA bluegreen algae. The bladderwrack included in this supplement has been found in research to be particularly good for eyes and vision and it is certified organic, Halal, paleo, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and GMO free.

Just a few changes and additions to your diet can make all the difference to your eyes and your vision. And if you need a little help getting the nutrition to feed your eyes what they need, you know some whole food supplements to add. Nothing takes the place though of eating fresh fruits and vegetables not just for your eyes but for overall health. So start designating a big portion of your plate at mealtime to be reserved for veggies and fruits and you’ll see the payoff in health benefits.

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Image courtesy of  graur codrinFreeDigitalPhotos.net


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