Foods and Supplements for Healthy Eyes
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The eyes are the window to the soul. I only have eyes for you. It was a sight for sore eyes. Over in the blink of an eye……………….
There are so many phrases that include something about the eyes. They are extremely important to us in so many obvious ways but many people take their eye health for granted. The truth is many eye issues come on so slowly that we don’t notice them until the symptoms are severe and the issue has become advanced. However, just like every other aspect of your health, your eyes can benefit from natural prevention and care.
The four main eye health issues are:
- Cataracts – When the lens in the eye becomes opaque, interfering with the eyes ability to perceive light and its vision.
- Glaucoma – An imbalance in the drainage and production of fluid in the eye that results in the compression of the optic nerve causing tunnel vision and eventually blindness.
- Macular Degeneration – When a small part of the retina deteriorates affecting the vision. This is most often age related.
- Diabetic Retinopathy – The tiny blood vessels in the retina are damaged due to chronically elevated glucose levels and/or high blood pressure.
One of the most common sense things you can do for your eyes is to get regular eye exams. The instruments they use can spot a problem long before the symptoms become apparent. The other most talked about prevention is to wear sunglasses. UV rays play a role in almost all of the major eye diseases and reducing your exposure is a healthy idea. There are also nutritional protocols and supplements you can take that will help you preserve your eye health.
Controlling your blood sugar is top on the list of nutritional protocols for eye health. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. Even if you are not diabetic, studies have shown that a diet high in sugars and carbohydrates can lead to eye problems such as retinopathy. High blood sugar can also elevate your blood pressure which is a factor in both glaucoma and retinopathy. Eating foods high in antioxidants such as vegetables and fruits is another way to help your eyes. A diet low in antioxidants has been shown to correlate to increased risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and also glaucoma.
There are certain, specific nutrients that are beneficial for your eye health:
- Lutein, found in dark green leafy vegetables, peas, broccoli, potatoes, oranges, carrots, yellow squash, guava, and egg yolks among other whole foods, is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that helps filter out damaging light and is key to visual acuity. It has been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration and possibly slow the progression of the diseases.
- Vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene were found in an age related eye study to have reduced the risk of eye diseases when taken over the course of 6 years. They are a good foundation for your eye health regime.
- Omega- 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and higher intakes of them have been shown to reduce the risk of and even slow the progress of macular degeneration.
- The herbs Eyebright, Ginkgo, Coleus forskohlii, have all shown to be beneficial for eye health. Eyebright has been used for centuries by many cultures for eye issues.
- Turmeric/curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that has been shown in rat studies to protect against cataracts.
- Cannabis (which contains cannabinoids) reduces the pressure in the eyes and has been used for years to treat glaucoma. Medical cannabis is now available more widely in the U.S. to treat eye disease and other health issues.
There are supplements such as multi-vitamins that include herbs and other nutrients to boost your eye health. You can also find supplements specifically designed to promote healthy eyes.