Thursday, September 3, 2015

Better Vision: Natural Solutions to See the World More Clearly

If I could have three wishes as I age they would be to remain mobile, stay mentally alert and fit, and to retain my vision with healthy eyes. I think most people would agree that keeping these abilities in our senior years would make life more enjoyable. The problem is that losing these are a valid concern as our bodies' age. I have recently written about the first two concerns so today I am looking at natural solutions for healthy eyes and vision. The number of seniors affected by conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration runs in the millions. To keep from joining this growing population of statistics here are some natural solution tips to help you see the world more clearly.

Natural Solutions For Healthy Vision
Protection from UV rays – Ultraviolet rays from the sun can increase your risk not only for skin cancer, but also for cataracts and macular degeneration. Wearing sunglasses when outside made to block out the UVA and UVB rays can help you protect your eyes.

Have your eyes checked – Having regular eye exams is important since many eye diseases can be caught and treated early. It is recommended that you see an eye specialist every one to two years.

Guard against too much computer time – Spending too much time at the computer can lead to straining your eyes, blurry vision, dry eyes and cause you to have trouble with distance vision. Special computer glasses or setting the computer monitor so that your own prescription glasses work to see the screen can help you avoid these problems. Taking short breaks from the computer every so often or at least looking away from the screen periodically can also help. Be aware too of staring too much and make yourself blink often.

Protect your eyes from damage – If you are doing tasks such as woodworking, yardwork or any activity or sport where there is a chance of getting something in your eyes or hit in the eyes, be sure to wear protective safety glasses. Even if it's never happened before; better safe than sorry since this is such an easy thing to do and it only takes one time to really do damage to your eyes.

Foods For Healthy Eyes
According to the National Eye Institute, you can decrease your risk of certain eye conditions that are associated with aging such as cataracts and macular degeneration by making sure you include foods in your diet that have omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin. Eating a healthy diet that helps you keep a good weight for your body size also can help reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes which is the number one cause of adult blindness.

Omega- Fatty Acids – Without enough of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids in particular diabetic retinopathy or damaged blood vessels to the eye are more likely which can lead to blindness. Your retinas in particular need DHA some of which they have naturally, but not having enough can cause dry eye syndrome according to the director of refractive surgery at Montefiore Medical Center, in New York City, Jimmy Lee, MD. For good health, you need 3 to 4 times as many omega-3's as omega-6's, but most Americans get a lot more omega-6's than omega-3's. To get more omega-3's in your diet start eating fatty fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel and trout, peanuts and walnuts which also have vitamin E that is good for eye health, AFA bluegreen algae which has the exact ratio of fatty acids the body needs, avocado, Brussels sprouts, flaxseeds, olive oil, edamame, and chia seeds.

Zinc – Zinc is an important mineral for protecting healthy eyes by aiding in the production of melanin which can also help with night vision. Foods to add to your diet to get more zinc include oysters, beef, beans, nuts, fortified cereals, sesame seeds, milk, yogurt, and miso.

Vitamin C – The American Optometric Association advises adding vitamin C in your diet to keep blood vessels to the eye healthy and lessen your risk for cataracts. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study reported those who are at high risk for macular degeneration or loss of vision acuity can reduce their risk significantly with the addition of 500 mg of vitamin C a day. This means adding foods to your diet such as orange juice, citrus fruits, berries, sweet potatoes, kiwi, Bell pepper, spinach which also has vitamin E and lutein, and broccoli.

Vitamin A – Vitamin A is an antioxidant nutrient that comes from foods with beta-carotene. The body takes beta-carotene from foods and converts it into Vitamin A. Fruits and veggies that are orange colored like pumpkin, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash, are good sources for vitamin A as are prunes, spinach, liver, and eggs.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin – Both these antioxidants exist in the eyes to help protect them and fight off damage from free radicals. Having enough helps reduce the risk of macular degeneration and is important for healthy retinas according to nutritionist Joy Bauer. Good food sources for these include leafy green veggies like kale, collard or turnip greens, and spinach, egg yolks which also have zinc, oranges, corn, green peas, broccoli, romaine lettuce, and green beans.

Can't Get Eye Nutrition In Your Diet? No Worries!
With our busy lifestyles it isn't always easy to eat the way we know we should. Cutting up salad greens and veggies and fruits ahead of time or on the weekends to munch on all week can help out, but you can also consider adding wholefood supplements to get the extra nutrition you need. When it comes to eye health as well as gut health, immune system support and overall nutrition in general it's hard to beat this AFA bluegreen algae program of convenient packets. With this program you get a month's worth of two types of daily packets of capsules. One gives you the nutritional value of two kinds of AFA bluegreen algae, acidophilus, bifidus, and digestive enzymes. The other packet provides wholefood nutrition that gives you the omega-3's, omega-6's, amino acids, beta glucans, and antioxidants you need from sprouted grasses and grains, marine and freshwater algae, and tonic muschrooms as well as over 60 micronutrients and 130 triterpenoids. It is also a product that is Organic, Kosher, Halal, Vegan, Dairy Free, and GMO Free. Besides giving you the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) omega-3 fatty acids that our bodies cannot make themselves and we have to get from foods, this supplement program also has ingredients specifically found beneficial for eye health such as bladderwrack which is a brown ocean algae with fucoidan and kale sprouts high in lutein and zeaxanthin.

Don't wait until your vision starts to suffer to take care of your eyes. Healthy eyes are one of the things that will let you enjoy your senior years and way too important to take for granted. Make getting your eyes examined regularly, protecting your eyes from damage and adding the nutrition to your diet that will help your eyes stay healthy a part of your retirement plan to get started on now. It will pay off big time in the future.

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Image courtesy of stockimages  /  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sources:
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20680738,00.html
http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/good-eyesight
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/16/foods-for-vision_n_3280781.html

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