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You know that proper eating habits become even more important as you get older. Like many seniors, you may watch your cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium very closely. On the other hand, you may not be aware that certain foods can improve your ocular health, as well. It’s not just carrots; various vegetables, fruits, and proteins contain vital nutrients. These foods can decrease your risk for many age-related eye conditions, including cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. As part of our comprehensive aging eye care, Dr. Maida can help you improve your diet to protect your vision. To learn more about foods that are good for the eyes, contact our Jacksonville, FL practice today.
Dark, Leafy Greens
Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are high in lutein and zeaxanthin. These are yellow pigments, which absorb excess blue light. Your macula, the central portion of your retina, contains high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, which can prevent damage from UV rays. Lutein also acts as an antioxidant, combatting free radicals, which can destroy cells in your eyes. Multiple studies show that diets high in lutein and zeaxanthin can greatly reduce the risk of macular degeneration. It can also improve night vision and the overall sharpness of your eye sight.
Since lutein is fat soluble, cooking your vegetables in healthy olive oil can help your body absorb more of these nutrients.
Vitamin C is not only good for your immune system. It also strengthens your body’s connective tissue, including the tissues at the back of your eye. In this way, Vitamin C can reduce your risk for cataracts and slow the progression of macular degeneration. Oranges and grapefruit are two of the most obvious sources of Vitamin C. However, red and green peppers, strawberries, and broccoli are also full of this important nutrient. Keep in mind that processing these foods will destroy some of their health properties. For optimal health, avoid canned fruits and choose freshly squeezed juices.
Eggs, like greens, are high in lutein and zeaxanthin. The concentration of these pigments is much lower, but your body will absorb them directly into the blood stream. Like many people, you may be worried about eating too many eggs, fearing that they will lead to high cholesterol and poor heart health. Fortunately, recent studies suggest that moderate egg consumption is beneficial.
Almonds are full of vitamin E, an important antioxidant that can prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. In addition, pistachios contain high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. But remember, nuts are comparatively high in calories, so moderation is key.
Apples are high in bioflavonoids. These antioxidants can also reduce inflammation in the body. In addition, they can strengthen your blood vessels and help your body expel cancer-producing chemicals. Therefore, a diet rich in bioflavonoids can reduce your risk for cataracts and macular degeneration. Other foods that contain these important nutrients include hot peppers, berries, dark chocolate, green tea, and soy.
Learn More about Diet and Eye Care
Learn more about the foods that can contribute to better ocular health. Contact our office today to schedule an eye exam and consultation with Dr. Maida.