Starting the new year off in a healthier mindset, and living more health-conscious all year long, can be a very positive change in both your life and the life of your entire family.
Did you know that living a healthy active life and eating a well-balanced diet is good for your eyes? We all know the benefits in terms of our overall health; however, many people are surprised to find out just how much their diet impacts their ocular health. Let’s take a closer look at the impact of nutrition on eye health, with recommendations of the best foods to incorporate into your diet to protect your eyesight.
The Links Between a Poor Diet and Poor Eye Health
There are many health conditions which are linked to living an unhealthy lifestyle, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes. In fact, diabetes is the most common cause of blindness in the UK, as high blood sugar levels can cause significant damage to the delicate eye vessels. Although opticians are able to detect the early signs of damage with regular eye checks, if the issue is not managed a loss of vision can occur.
In addition, both high cholesterol and high blood pressure will also put extra strain on your blood vessels and increase the chance of a blockage. Not only is this very dangerous for your organs, but if a blockage occurs in the retinal vein or artery occlusions it can result in vision loss. Not to mention, the risk of a stroke or heart attack which can also affect your eyesight.
How Can I Improve My Health?
We know that the above risks can sound quite alarming, but it is possible to significantly reduce the risk of these conditions by following a healthy lifestyle. The following are some nutrients which promote eye health by preventing issues such as diabetes, cataract, and dry eye disease, and we are sure that your health will feel the benefits:
Vitamin A – Commonly found in carrots, eggs, and spinach, this vitamin will improve ocular moisture and lubrication.
Vitamin E – To improve overall cell health, fight off infection and protect your eyes from night vision issues, you should incorporate this vitamin into your diet which is found in foods such as nuts, kale, and seeds.
Vitamin C – Found in oranges, broccoli, berries, and sweet red peppers, this vitamin acts as an antioxidant, improves collagen in the cornea and helps to maintain blood vessels in the retina.
Zeaxanthin and Lutein – As the two main carotenoids, these are commonly found in kale, egg yolks and spinach and they work to enrich the macula and protect the retina by absorbing blue light and UV radiation.
Essential Fatty Acids – Tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel, and flaxseed oil are all acids which are known for their neuroprotective benefits and prevention of dry eye syndrome.
Zinc – The retina contains the highest levels of zinc of all the organs in your body, so it is important to incorporate foods such as beans, beef, nuts, oysters, and cereals into your diet to maintain retina health and protect your eyes from light damage.
It can be hard to track and actively manage everything you eat, however simply filling your plate with colourful fruits and vegetables will help you to make sure you are getting the essential minerals and vitamins that your body needs.
As optometrists, we are here to identify, diagnose and help you to prevent issues, and we always aim to promote awareness of issues that can affect your eye health. To find out more or to book an appointment, please contact your local Realeyes branch.