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Superfoods that are beneficial for the eyes

Dr. H Janhavi

Dr. H Janhavi

  Kalyan nagar, Bengaluru     Mar 5, 2018

   8 min     

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Overview

We all need to maintain good eye health, because, let’s face it, a clear vision is a million times better than having a blurred one. It also helps you perform better, be it at your office, or when doing typical household chores, or even while driving or riding.

A lot of people neglect eye health, thus posing various risks for eye disorders.

Precautions that can be Taken to Protect Your Eyesight

We do not have much control of any eye disorders that we may have to face, but we can take certain precautions to prevent them from occurring.

Here are some precautions you can take to maintain your eye health, and prevent any disorders.

  •  Regular Eye exams: the best way to keep track of whatever is happening to your eyes is by conducting regular eye exams. Visit your ophthalmologist, and they can help detect signs or symptoms at early stages of any disorder, and treat it immediately.
  • Eye protection: There are various steps you can take to protect your eyes from harmful substances. You can wear sunglasses to protect your eye from harmful UV rays emitted by the sun, even on cloudy days. If you are someone who spends a lot of time outdoors while indulging in sports, riding motorbikes, or working for construction, then you can wear protective glasses to prevent any dust or other particles from entering and damaging your eyes.
  • Rest your eyes: Do not strain them too much. In case you are someone who works in front of a computer, take some time away from looking at the screen. This must be done every 20 minutes, where you look at an object that is 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. This is because your digital devices emit high energy blue light that is not good for your eyes. You could lie down close your eyes for a few minutes.  It would also be wise to keep your eye 20- 24 inches away from the computer screen as well as adjust its lighting to minimum glare. Also, blink frequently, and use eye lubrication if you find your eyes to be dry and irritated. 
  • Sanitisation: Always sanitize your hands before bringing it near your eyes. This is because your hands may contain germs that could infect your eye and cause conditions like conjunctivitis. If you are someone who wears contacts, always wash your hands before you put in those contact lenses or take them out. Take special care of your contact lenses, and disinfect then whenever necessary.
  • Exercise: Exercising is a very good way to take care of your eyes, as it helps improve blood circulation. Thus proper amounts of oxygen reach you, and it helps you get rid of toxins. 
  • Stop Smoking: When you smoke, it brings about oxidative stress to your eyes, thus degenerating it. Smoking may lead to a variety of health conditions that affect your eyes.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Your diet also plays a vital role in maintaining your eye health. Your diet must include foods rich in antioxidants found in vitamin A and Vitamin C or leafy greens, or omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish like tuna or salmon. Both of these are very important to the part of the eye that is responsible for your central vision; known as the macula. Taking in unhealthy food rich in saturated fats or consuming alcohol may introduce free radical reactions that will harm the macula. If your food contains a high amount of fats, these may introduce deposits into your arteries, thus limiting blood flow to the eyes. 

Superfoods that you can Include in your Diet to Ensure Healthy Eyes

Your diet plays an important role in maintaining your eye health and also improving your vision. Given below are some superfoods that you can incorporate into your diet, to achieve the same.

Carrots

Carrots are a very rich source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C; both rich in antioxidants. Carrots are known to improve your eye health and naturally prevent the development of eye disorders like cataract.

Carrots are also rich in beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant carotenoid that will be converted to vitamin A by your body, essentially improving your vision. Your eyes have rods and cone cells that naturally help you see in low lights or extreme brightness, and it is Vitamin A that aids in the production of these cells. Another major advantage of beta-carotene is that it keeps disease-causing free-radical at bay. 

See to it that you eat high amounts of beta carotene as this reduces your risk of developing eye disorder like macular degeneration, glaucoma or cataract. Beta-carotene is mainly found in yellow, orange or red fruits, kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes and cantaloupes.

Fish

When we say fish, we are referring to fatty fish like salmon and tuna. These are rich in omega 3 fatty acids that vastly improve your circulatory system, especially the blood vessels. They are effective in preventing the development of conditions like glaucoma or dry eye. 

If you are someone who doesn't prefer eating fish, you can always rely on Omega 3 fatty supplements. 

There have been various studies that having fish prevented one from developing macular degeneration in old age. In fact, it was observed that the ones who consumed a lot of fish had the least risk of contracting the condition.

Include two or three servings of fish with dark meat, like tuna or salmon, every week to maintain proper eye health.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy green vegetables mainly include spinach or kale, all of which contain vitamin C, beta carotene as well as other antioxidants; substances that help prevent eye damage.

These leafy greens contain two important antioxidants; lutein and zeaxanthin, which are both abundantly stored in the macula, the part of the eye that controls your central vision and protects the eye from damaging light. 

If you are someone who works in front of a computer, having an increased amount of lutein would be wonderful as it protects the eye from the blue light emitted by phones and computers. These antioxidants also ensure that the eyes are supplied with proper blood flow. Include at least three servings of leafy greens every week. 

Foods rich in lutein include spinach, kale, parsley, watercress, arugula, rhubarb and collard greens.

Eggs

Eggs, mainly the yolks, are food that is very good for the eye. Eggs contain vitamin A, which, as we now know, improves our eye function in many ways. Egg yolks also contain antioxidants that prevent any eye damage, i.e. lutein and zeaxanthin, which, as previously mentioned, are found in leafy green vegetables.

Egg yolks have high-fat content which aids the body to absorb all necessary antioxidants. Eat eggs every day, and you will have an increased amount of lutein and zeaxanthin. 

In addition to that, egg yolk also contains vitamin D, which is helpful in preventing macular degeneration. Lutein also can be found in corn, something that is consumed a lot by hens, which is why egg yolks contain the antioxidant.  

Whole grains

Whole grains are a healthy food group that helps the body in many ways such as weight loss, lowering LDL cholesterol and even maintaining your eye health.  Whole grains like brown rice or your oatmeal are very good for your eye.

What makes whole grains good is the presence of components like vitamin E, zinc, or niacin; all components that protect eye health. Whole grains also have a low glycemic index, which is ideal if you are looking to promote eye health. 

In addition to all that, whole grains like most food in this article, reduce the risks of macular degeneration or cataracts, but they also reduce blood sugar spikes which in the long run damage your retina. The zinc in these whole grains protects your eye from inflammation or harmful light. 

Citrus Fruits

These are foods rich in vitamin C, Vitamin B-12, beta-carotene and include fruits like lemon, orange, grapefruit etc. the components in citrus fruits are basically compounds that protect your vision. 

The antioxidants in these fruits also prevent any damage that could be caused by free-radicals and also reduces the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. 

Oranges, a citrus fruit, are also helpful in providing structure for your cornea by building collagen. 

Nuts

Nuts are also another food group that contains omega 3 fatty acids as well as vitamin E, both beneficial to the eye. Your nuts could include almonds, pistachios, walnuts, peanuts, cashews etc.

Nits also protect your eye from free radicals, thus preventing any tissue breakage that they cause. 

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Tags:  Ophthalmology,healthy food,eye care,eye health, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, diet

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