Wellness: Here’s what you need to add to your shopping list for better vision
What is the first feature you notice when you meet a person? Many will say, obviously the eyes. It is no wonder that they are called the window to a person’s soul, because a ‘healthy you’ will be reflected in your healthy and sparkling eyes. So how does one keep their eyes healthy? You have probably heard that carrots and other bright-coloured fruits and vegetables promote eye health and protect vision, and it is indeed true:
Beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A that gives these foods their orange/red hue, helps the retina and other parts of the eye to function smoothly. Not only Beta-carotene, but several other vitamins and minerals are also essential for healthy eyes. Antioxidants and other important nutrients may reduce your risk of eye disease. Specific antioxidants can have additional benefits as well; for example, Vitamin A protects against blindness, Vitamin C may play a role in preventing or alleviating glaucoma, Omega-3 essential fatty acids also play an important role to help the eye in many ways, from alleviating symptoms of dry eye syndrome to guarding one against macular damage and reducing inflammation. Vitamin C and E, Zinc, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Omega-3 fatty acids — all help prevent cataracts, clouding of your eye lens and they may also fight the most-likely cause of vision loss when you’re older ie, AMD which is also known as age-related macular degeneration. There are few vitamins, minerals and other nutrients which have been shown to be essential for good vision and may protect your eyes from various issues affecting the eye sight.
• VITAMIN E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant and in it’s biologically active form is a powerful antioxidant found in variety of nuts, seeds and sweet potatoes. It protects each and every cell in our body as well as our eyes from damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals which break down healthy tissue. When Vitamin E is combined with carotenoids and Vitamin C it may also reduce the risk of advanced AMD and few other eye related disease.
Food sources: Almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, Peanut and peanut butter.
• VITAMIN C: Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid is a potent antioxidant found in various fruits and vegetables. It reduces the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration by reducing the oxidative stress in our body and boosting the immune system. It also slows down the progression of age related macular degeneration and visual acuity loss.
Food sources: Sweet peppers (red or green), kale, strawberries, broccoli, oranges, cantaloupe, kiwis and other berries.
• VITAMIN A: Vitamin A protects eyes against night blindness and dry eyes. Proper supplementation of Vitamin A can also reverse the effect of few eye disorders.
Food sources: Organic organ meat, eggs, organicA2 milk and its products.
• VITAMIN D: Help reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
Food sources: whole egg, mushrooms, miso, Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel, organic A2 milk etc.
The best and natural source of Vitamin D is exposure of our body to sunlight. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun stimulates production of Vitamin D in our skin, and just a few minutes of exposure to sunlight each day (with out sunscreen and bare minimum clothes) will ensure your body is producing adequate amounts of Vitamin D.
All in all, it’s best to obtain most of these nutrients through a healthy and balanced diet, including at least two servings of fish per week and plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables along with nuts, seeds and grains daily. While an overall healthy and active lifestyle is the key to bright eyes, adding more of these healthy foods to your diet will help keep them sparkling and strong.
The writer is Chief Nutrition Officer, Luke Coutinho Holistic Healing Systems. She is a clinical nutritionist with a focus on healthy lifestyle choices.
Photo courtesy: Gabriel Gurrolaon Unsplash