May is vision month. So what’s nutrition got to do with it? Lots! Here is the latest nutrition advice for maintaining healthy eyes:
Eat dark green and orange vegetables every day. These veg are rich in vitamin A which has important functions within the eye including being able to see in colour and in low light. Try a pumpkin and kale soup or a sweet potato and spinach frittata or a stir-fry with broccoli, snow peas, red peppers and carrots….bam – orange and green all in one meal!
Eat fish regularly. In one study, 4 servings of fish per week was found to decrease the risk of macular degeneration. Omega-3’s work as an anti-inflammatory – so what isn’t it good for?!
Get in your carotenoids – specifically Lutein and Zeaxanthin! Carotenoids are found in the pigment of the eyes and can act directly to absorb damaging UV light to protect the retina of the eye. Think of them as working as 24/7 sunglasses! Lutein and Zeaxanthin are found in the following foods: kiwi, grapes, oranges, zucchini, squash, orange pepper, dark green leafy veg and egg yolk. Need another reason to eat more orange and green?
Eat less sodium. Too much sodium aka salt increases blood pressure, and high blood pressure increases the risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration. Use herbs, spices, onions, garlic and lemon to flavour food and read those labels! Look for 200 mg sodium or less per serving.
Avoid using high dose supplements/herbs for eye health. Taking high dose antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin A can actually increase risk of cancer and heart failure. Ooops! Case and point: too much of a good thing is not always good. The amounts found in a multivitamin are OK.