World Sight Day: 6 Foods To Keep Your Eyesight Sharp
From antioxidants to good fats, here are foods that can help maintain your eye health.
Our eyes are facing the brunt from multiple sides these days. There’s an over dose of screen time, the never ending technology onslaughts, the genetic baggage that we handle, the ever increasing pollution and most importantly the poor nutrient quality of the food we eat.
It’s a fact that very often the key ‘eye’ nutrients are missing from our plates.
This can be detrimental for our eye health and lead to early development of severe eye health issues, a situation that is becoming extremely common these days.
This World Sight day on 14 October lets focus on this very important, yet often ignored part of our body.
First up it is important to ascertain that are our diets are not deficient in vitamins A, D, E and K, iron, calcium and magnesium.
Besides other health issues one big fall out of these deficiencies tends to be poor eye vision, and hastening of the need to wear spectacles (often as early as in our late twenties).
Well as what we eat also deeply impact our eyes health, alterations made there can definitely help control (at least delay) all eye related problems like dimming eye sight, age related macular degeneration (ARMG) and even cataracts and the like.
Focus on these healthy eating habits and score these important nutrients staring now to save your eyes:
There is clear evidence now that foods rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are effective in reducing the effect of macular degeneration, a common age related eye disorder that causes blurred or reduced central vision, due to thinning of the macula in the retina.
Luckily these are rather easy to score.
Broccoli, kale, corn, spinach (a leafy green we take much for granted) are great sources.
Interestingly some research has shown that cooking actually increases the amount of lutein levels in corn, so go on add it to soups, and casseroles.
Also much on fruits like kiwi and grapes to supplement their intake further.
And you’d be surprised but basil leaves also give us both these antioxidants, so eat some every day;
Easiest way is to add a few to your morning cup of tea.
Jackfruit and papaya also deliver abundant eye friendly vitamin A.
And cashews deliver zeaxanthin in hordes
The Good Fats
Score enough essential omega-3 fatty acids. It is found in salmon and other fatty fish. So fix your fish eating days.
If you are a vegetarian then chomp some walnuts and flax seeds as they too provide omega 3.
These help keep inflammation in the body down which is good news for our eyes too.
Plus salmon also delivers antioxidant zeaxanthin, which also provides protection against blindness.
Eat the Yolks
Eat the egg with the yolk as it is packed with sight friendly nutrients like lutein, omega 3, vitamin E and zinc. Vitamin E has a role in pre-venting cataracts (can also get it from almonds, wheat germ, seeds) and zinc enables vitamin A to create a pigment called melanin, which protects the eye.
Besides egg, you can get zinc from wheat germ and cashews too.
So consciously include these in your diet.
The Vitamin C Advantage
Score enough vitamin C rich too as it helps improve the health of our eye tissue by keeping our blood vessels in the eyes healthy.
This helps combat the development of cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration.
So focus on citrus fruits and eat some amla every day. Have it as candy or churan, if you find it too sour when raw.
The B Factor
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) deficiency has been linked to vision trouble, so incorporating sunflower seeds, yoghurt, fish, tofu, brown rice, and peas, all good sources of the vitamin, is a good idea.
Curcumin found in turmeric can help protect our retina from free radi-cals that spur macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of vi-sion loss.
So wind up the day with some haldi doodh tonight.
Skip trans fats consciously as a diet that’s low in trans and saturated fat is not just great for our heart, it is also important to keep the blood vessels of the eyes healthy.
So omit margarine and chips from that grocery list please and excess fried food too.
Also, get plenty of sleep to help your body recharge, recover and be ready for a new day!
And yes go easy on the gadgets. You need to actively take care of your eyes, and not tire them excessively.
(Kavita Devgan is a nutritionist, weight management consultant, and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of The Don't Diet Plan: A no-nonsense guide to weight loss, Fix it with Food, Ultimate Grandmother Hacks, and Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People.)
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