Ten Nutrients to Boost Your Vision
Beta-carotene is a form of vitamin A which helps keep your eyes functioning properly. This is especially important for the retina, which is a layer at the back of your eyeball which is critical for forming visual images and helping you see. Combined with vitamin E, vitamin C, and zinc, beta-carotene can slow the advancement of macular degeneration, otherwise referred to as AMD. Not only that, but it’s also a formidable antioxidant in the fight against cancer. There’s also a good chance that beta-carotene can help you keep your skin looking young and healthy, so make sure you’re getting your daily recommended amount of 6 to 15 milligrams every day! Some of the best sources for beta-carotene include kale, cantaloupes, butternut squash, spinach, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
Bioflavonoids are phyto-nutrients which shield your eyes from wear. Additionally, they can help with blood circulation within the retina, which will both protect your eyesight and keep your eyes healthy. This is especially true if you maintain a balanced diet which includes a variety of vitamins and minerals, because bioflavonoids work best when they are paired with a wholesome array of fortifying nutrients. Bioflavonoids provide a natural red, yellow, or blue pigment to foods, and are often found in the most vibrantly colored fruits. Blueberries, cherries, and strawberries are excellent choices for getting your daily dose of bioflavonoids. They can also be found in vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.
Zeaxanthin and Lutein
This pair of carotenoids are formidable antioxidants which help to maintain and protect the cells in your eyes by shielding them against the destructive properties of light. The existence of zeaxanthin and lutein in your eyes strengthens your sight while decreasing the risk of cataracts, chronic eye ailments, and macular degeneration. Leafy greens like spinach, collard greens, and kale are all amazing sources of zeaxanthin and lutein. However, you can also find these powerful nutrients in apples, blackcurrants, bilberries, salmon, and even pasteurized egg yolks. As an added bonus, lutein and zeaxanthin may also benefit your skin and your heart, so make sure you’re getting enough of it!
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
Essential Fatty Acids, or EFAs, are the building blocks of fat and are considered to be energy sources for cells. There are two types of essential fatty acids which are required by your body to maintain your eyesight and your overall health: Omega-3 and omega-6. When kept in appropriate ratios, these fatty acids can also ensure that intraocular fluid – or fluids within your eyes – can be unloaded properly from your eye tissues, which will help to cut your chances of developing glaucoma or any disorders involving heightened pressure within the eyeball. Studies also show that omega-3 fatty acids are of particular benefit to ocular health because they boost the development of eyesight in infants. They are also known to shield against ailments such as macular degeneration, or AMD, and diabetic retinopathy as we age. EFAs come from a variety of places but are most commonly found in cold-water fish such as mackerel and herring, tuna, salmon, and even cod liver oil. Essential fatty acids can also be found in walnuts, freshly-ground flaxseeds, canola oil, and roasted soybeans.
Selenium, taken regularly and combined with zinc, is considered a powerful tool to protect against glaucoma. Left untreated, glaucoma is a serious disorder which can result in optic nerve damage and, eventually, blindness. Because glaucoma is also relatively common, getting your daily dose of selenium sure sounds like a fantastic idea! Selenium can also help protect your sight by neutralizing free radicals and, when combined with vitamins C and E, reduce the risk of developing advanced macular degeneration. However, selenium should be taken with caution, as too much of it can make you ill. Always follow instructions carefully if you are supplementing with selenium and consider eating foods which contain selenium instead. These foods include brewer’s yeast, Brazil nuts, garlic, wheat germ, enriched noodles, eggs, mushrooms, brown rice, onions, shellfish, tuna, halibut, and flounder.
Vitamin A assists in strengthening the eye’s surface, otherwise known as the cornea, and is a crucial supplement for healthy sight. Research reveals vitamin A to be a potent dry-eye remedy, and great for treating superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis, which is a type of eye inflammation. Combined with other vitamins, it is accepted as a defense against the loss of peripheral vision, age-related eye maladies, and night blindness. Common foods containing vitamin A include eggs, butter, milk, beef or chicken livers, carrots, sweet potatoes, melons, and spinach. As an added bonus, vitamin A, especially when combined with vitamin E, can help keep your skin looking blemish-free and healthy. However, too much vitamin A can have negative effects on your system, so be careful if you choose to take supplements. Getting vitamin A from wholesome foods is both safe and adequate for most people.
Most of us already know that vitamin C can support your overall health. It’s widely accepted as an immune system booster, but it can also be used as a way to defend your skin, bones, and blood vessels from free radicals and inflammation. Likewise, vitamin C also helps defend the fragile capillaries within your retina. Research suggests that daily intake of vitamin C reduces the risk of degenerative eye disorders such as macular degeneration and cataracts. And while oranges are commonly considered to be the largest food source of vitamin C, you can get plenty of vitamin C from a variety of other fruits and vegetables. This includes, but is not limited to, strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupes, butternut squash, papaya, tomatoes, kale, red or green sweet peppers, and spinach.
Fat-soluble vitamin D greatly assists our eyesight. It primarily yields anti-inflammatory advantages and aids in the defense against macular degeneration. Additionally, it helps with dry eyes by prompting the manufacture of an antimicrobial protein called cathelicidin, which is known to repair wounds to the eye. The best way to get vitamin D is through exposure to the sun, especially by getting several minutes of early morning sun each day. However, you can also increase your vitamin D intake by eating seafood such as mackerel, tuna, snapper, trout, or scallops. Vitamin D is also present in vegetables like avocado, spinach, collards, and other dark leafy greens.
Vitamin E assists in neutralizing oxidation. It is believed to play a critical role in eye defense, especially in areas prone to oxidative injury. Vitamin E can help you see better at night, too, and consuming a wholesome diet with healthy levels of vitamin E can lower your odds of contracting night blindness. Furthermore, vitamin E can guard against free radicals, which, like many of the other nutrients suggested here, will decrease your chances of developing macular degeneration and cataracts. Great sources for vitamin E include dark leafy greens like kale, mustard or turnip greens, and spinach. Nuts such as hazelnuts or almonds and plant seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, or wheat germ also contain excellent levels of vitamin E. You can also add more vitamin E into your diet by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables such as butternut squash, broccoli, avocado, and kiwi.
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High levels of zinc can be found in your macula, which is an area near the center of the retina in your eyes. It is the region associated with sharp vision and healthy macules are essential for clear eyesight. Zinc plays a large role in the overall health of your eyesight. Like other nutrients, it can guard against age-related issues such as macular degeneration. When combined with vitamin A, it also creates the pigment melanin, which helps defend your eyes against oxidative injury. Regular consumption of zinc through a healthy diet is recommended for long-lasting eyesight health. This amazing mineral can be found in crab, oysters, lobster, and an assortment of other meats, especially poultry. Try adding pecan nuts, pumpkin or squash seeds, cashew nuts, spinach, and mushrooms to your diet to raise your zinc intake.