Take care of your eyes this winter with these nutritional tips from Oranmore Optometrists

In association with Oranmore Optometrists

Nutrition is one of the only areas where someone can take action to help avoid eye health problems. If you take control of this area of your life you can significantly reduce the risk of having poor eyesight or even going blind.

The following are a list of vitamins and nutrients that are vital to your eyes. When it comes to nutrient absorption in your body, natural unprocessed foods are better than supplements, and raw is better than cooked.

1. Zinc is an important antioxidant and free radical scavenger. This nutrient is very important in the formation of retinal pigment. Zinc works in conjunction with vitamin A to reduce night blindness, may help reduce the risk of AMD.

The following foods have an abundance of zinc: Oysters, beef, crab, pork, lobster, baked beans, cashews (raw ), yogurt, chickpeas, kidney beans, peas, porridge, flounder and sole.

2. Vitamin A is one of the key vitamins that we hear so much about. It helps protect the tear film and improves dry eyes. Vitamin A is also important to protect us against night blindness

Source: Liver, egg, milk, cheddar cheese, dandelion greens, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, butter, kale, spinach, pumpkin, collard greens, cantaloupe melon, apricot, papaya, mango and peas.

3. Vitamin C is one of the strongest free radical scavengers and helps protect the fatty acids in the retinal layer from oxidation. This important vitamin can reduce the risk of cataracts and night blindness.

Source: Calf liver, Beef, Oysters, Pork, Chicken liver, Red pepper, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Kale, Lemon, Cauliflower, Garlic, Grapefruit, Raspberry, Oranges, Tangerine, Spinach, Cabbage, Potatoes, Tomato, Grapes, Bananas, Carrot and Avocado.

4. Vitamin D has a beneficial role in that it may significantly reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration.

Source: Milk, Sardines, Salmon and Mackerel. Sunshine on your skin increases formation of Vitamin D.

5. Vitamin E is another key antioxidant, also found in high concentrations within the retina. It acts as a free radical scavenger and prevents lipids from oxidation. Natural origin alpha-tocopherol is the most bio potent format.

Sources: Avocados, Almonds, Asparagus, Kiwifruit, Broccoli, Pumpkin, Sweet potato.

6. Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Astaxanthin when present in the eye act as powerful natural antioxidants. These pigments help absorb damaging blue and ultraviolet rays. Most people are not consuming enough fruit and vegetables that contain Lutein and zeaxanthin.

Astaxanthin another extremely important nutrient is derived from algae. This phytonutrient has demonstrated an ability to accumulate in the eye, thereby offering protection against UV light and oxidation of retinal tissues. Astaxanthin is found in salmon and shrimp.

8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are essential in that they form a major component of retinal membranes. DHA omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to facilitate the absorption of Lutein. EPA omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in that they control inflammatory responses within the eye. Omega 3’s is beneficial in that they reduce the severity of dry eyes and safeguard against macular degeneration.

Source: Ground flaxseed, cold water fish (salmon, mackerel, trout etc ), flax oil and hemp oil.

9. Selenium is an important antioxidant and has a synergistic action with Vitamin E and zinc. Zinc works in conjunction with other vitamins and minerals to reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

Source: Brown rice, salmon, shrimp, crab and halibut.

Besides adopting a healthy diet, you can help protect your eyes by avoiding prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV ) rays and high-energy blue light, quitting smoking and getting annual eye exams.

For more information on all the above topics, Call Oranmore Optometrists on 091 788537 or visit our website www.oranmoreopticians.ie to book an eye examination.

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