Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Simple Steps for Healthy Vision

Think of all we do and enjoy in the world through our eyes when we have healthy vision. If you started losing your sight how much would you be missing or how much would your lifestyle change? I know it definitely frustrates me to have to find my reading glasses to read food labels or recipes that I used to have no problems reading. This is definitely something to consider as we age since our eyes undergo changes that affect our vision as we get older. Even if you are not at risk genetically for certain eye diseases, your vision doesn't always stay as sharp once you hit middle age.

Eye Conditions
The older we get the less flexible the eye lens is and that makes it harder for the eyes to focus. This is a condition called presbyopia that commonly starts around middle age and is the reason we have to hold print at arm's length sometimes to read it. Glasses or even just reading glasses may help when you start noticing this happen. Another condition that often comes with aging is dry eyes since as we age our eyes don't produce tears as easily as they once did. Left untreated, this condition can harm your vision because our eyes need the moisture to remain healthy. Artificial tear type eye drops may help, but if the condition continues you may need to seek help from an eye care professional. Floaters are another common condition that can occur as we age. This happens when eye fluid starts breaking down as we get older and we see specks floating around. This is usually not a condition to worry about unless the floaters start increasing and may also have light flashes with them. Floaters can sometimes be an indication of a tear in the retina which an eye exam could determine. More serious eye conditions include cataracts resulting from a buildup of protein on the inside of the eye's lens and cause vision to be cloudy, AMD (age-related macular degeneration), and glaucoma from optic nerve damage. If you have diabetes that is not under control, you can have additional eye problems as a result since the blood vessels in the eyes can become damaged by high blood sugar.

Nutrition for Healthy Eyes
Many of the conditions mentioned above come with aging and since we can't stop getting older we have to look for other solutions to help keep our vision healthy. There are many foods that have been found to support vision health. If you are looking for ways to naturally keep your eyes working the best you can, be sure to get regular eye checkups and try adding some of the following foods and nutrients into your diet.

Omega-3 Foods
If you have dry eyes, or suspect cataracts or macular degeneration are affecting your vision, then adding in foods with omega-3 fatty acids can help. They are also good for keeping your retinas healthy. These types of foods would include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, halibut, and mackerel, fish oil supplements, nuts like walnuts, almonds and pistachios, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, black currant seed oil and AFA bluegreen algae.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin
These two carotenoids naturally occur in the retina area of the eye and absorb UV light and blue light that can negatively affect the macular part of the eye. Eating foods that contain lutein and zeaxanthin can help cut down on free radical damage in the eyes, and lower the risk of macular degeneration, and cataracts. You'll find them in foods like eggs, leafy green vegetables like spinach, Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, collard greens, and turnip greens, avocados, peas, and yellow and orange vegetables and fruits like papaya and squash. When you can't work all the veggies you need for antioxidant protection, this program of wholefood supplements can help you get not only lutein and zeaxanthin and other antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes, fiber and proteins, but also the omega-3 fatty acids that support eye health.

Whole Grains
Whole grains help lower your glycemic index which lowers your risk of age-related macular degeneration. They also have the vitamin E, zinc and niacin that help support healthy eyes. Quinoa, brown rice, whole oats, and whole wheat breads, cereals and pastas are some of the foods to include in your diet to get more whole grains.

Antioxidant Vitamins
Vitamin C foods can help lower your risk of getting cataracts and macular degeneration and can be found in foods such as kiwi, oranges, grapefruit, berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and Bell Peppers. Vitamin A is another important vitamin for eye health and can be found in carrots, pumpkin, apricots, mangos, sweet potatoes, red peppers, and cantaloupe, as is vitamin E found in almonds, peanut butter, broccoli, spinach, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds. Just one of the great things these antioxidant vitamins do for the body is to provide protection from the damage to cells by free radicals and to repair damage already done. They also help nourish your natural adult stem cells which have the unique ability to become other types of cells and go to where there are damaged cells to replace them. This is such a vital reason to make sure your diet includes lots of fruits and veggies, but if you just can't work them all in then this antioxidant algae wholefood supplement may be your answer. Since parts of the eye are particularly susceptible to free radical damage, getting antioxidant protection and nourishing your stem cells to replace damaged eye cells is all part of eating for good eye health.

Zinc Foods
Zinc is an important mineral for maintaining good eye health as it can reduce the risk of macular degeneration, night blindness, and cataracts, and support the health of the retina. Good food sources for zinc include sunflower seeds (which also are good for vitamin E), oysters, turkey, beef, pork, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, sesame seeds, yogurt, miso, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, chickpeas, and whole grains.

Now that you know what your vision is facing as you age, take steps now to protect it. Adding some of these foods that support eye health will help you protect your precious vision and keep your eyes healthy at whatever age you are.

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Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/healthy-vision-as-you-age-14/default.htm
http://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/foods.htm
http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/top-foods-to-help-protect-your-vision

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