What you eat may have a significant effect your vision. Research by the National Eye Institute (NEI) found eating foods and supplements with antioxidants and vision health are very closely related.
Here are some of the different foods and supplements loaded with antioxidants to help assist the body for improved vision health.
1. Taking Supplements
Losing visual acuity is a normal and largely unavoidable result of natural aging. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) causes nearly 10 million Americans to suffer permanent vision loss. Approximately two million cataract extractions (surgery) are performed annually. In some people, AMD causes a slow loss of vision over a long period of time, while for others it can cause a rapid loss in vision.
In the NEI study, antioxidant vitamins and zinc supplements “reduced the risk of developing advanced AMD by about 25% in the study subjects who were at a high risk for developing the advanced stage of this disease.”
The study went on to say that those in the high-risk group for AMD taking the supplement also reduced vision loss by approximately 19%. The researchers concluded that taking supplements with high doses of antioxidants could be a very effective way to could delay progression of AMD, especially those who are already at a high risk for developing it like:
- Those over the age of 55
- Anyone who has a family history of the disease
- People who have high blood pressure
- Those who are obese
If you are at risk for age-related macular degeneration or cataracts, eating a diet rich in antioxidants could save your sight!
2. Free Radical Exposure
It should come as no surprise that eating foods with antioxidants and vision health are related. The research and medical community has long known that antioxidants are the number one way to slow down the aging process from deep inside the body to the outer most layer of the skin.
Free radicals, those cells that made up of a molecule with an oddly-unpaired electron, are very unstable molecules that have lost an electron. They then attack the nearest stable molecule with a full set of electrons in its outer shell, stealing an electron, and rendering the mugged molecule unstable. This can cause a chain reaction that eventually disrupts the viability of a living cell. Free radical damage accumulates with age and is sped up by lifestyle factors like smoking, excessive sun exposure, and environmental pollutants.
Antioxidants are nutrients that neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons and ending its electron-thievery.
Eye cells are delicate and years of free radical exposure can cause them to begin dying off, leading to vision loss and even total blindness.
Related: The Eyes are the Mirrors of your Health
3. Proper Diet
There are three main antioxidant vitamins: vitamins C and E and beta-carotene, which are converted by the body into vitamin A. Many fruits and vegetables contain these vital nutrients that could greatly reduce your chances of AMD and other eye-related diseases.
Blue, black, raspberry, cranberry, and strawberries are a sweet way to get a healthy dose of antioxidants everyday. Besides vitamins C and E, they also have other health benefits to benefit the entire body, so toss them in your breakfast cereal, salads and yogurt and you could be seeing “berry” well into your golden years.
These are not just something your grandmother eats to stay regular anymore. These dark purple gems ranked the highest in antioxidants according to a Kansas State University Study. They may not look pretty, but if you are not eating them regularly, you won’t be able to see them anyway.
Walnuts and Pecans
A mere ounce of these tree nuts has an ample amount of antioxidants in cholesterol- and sugar-free bite-sized portions that are great companions alongside the aforementioned berries in many dishes. You would be nuts not to add them into your diet on a regular basis.
This dark leafy green is not only a great source of antioxidants (fresh or cooked) but it also boasts a dose of iron, too. In addition, kale, Brussels sprouts and even broccoli are rich in antioxidant power for healthy peepers.
These weird looking plants don’t resemble anything edible, but dig deep to get at the heart of the matter and you will be getting a good dose of antioxidants, along with fiber and other vitamins and minerals.
Tea for two, please—your left and right eye, that is. This light, mild tasting beverage that is delicious served hot or cold is an easy way to sip a few antioxidants into your diet. If tea is not your thing, good old-fashioned coffee runs a close second in the category of best beverages with antioxidants for the eyes.
Eye Heart Supplements
The NEI study found that most Americans’ diets fall far short of the levels of antioxidants necessary to slow down age-related macular eye disease. It can be difficult enough to include the abundance of fruits and vegetables needed to get the necessary antioxidants to be effective against vision loss, but with such strong research linking antioxidants and vision health, adding a supplement to your daily routine just makes good sense. See?