"The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides." -Audrey Hepburn
For many, the eyes are the most attractive part of a person. A beautiful woman with bright blue or deep hazel eyes and luscious lashes can bring any man to his knees.
It is one thing to have aesthetically pleasing eyes and yet a complete other concern to have healthy eyes.
In the UK, there are almost 2 million people living with sight loss. Being told by a medical professional that you have a visual impairment can make many people feel discouraged, upset and shocked.
You may not be able to do the same things as before such as driving, playing certain sports or reading.
Many cases of visual impairment are genetic but for many others, the situation can be avoided.
Superprof is here to offer practical suggestions about how a healthy diet and lifestyle can benefit your eye health right now and in the long run.
What Foods Will Improve My Eye Health?
Eat your fruits and vegetables!
Good eye health starts on the plate.
I'm sure many of you have heard someone once say, "eat your carrots, they're good for your eyes." This is very factual because they have beta-carotene in them.
Certain foods that are filled with beneficial nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc and vitamins C, E and beta-carotene as mentioned above, can chase away age-related eyes problems such as cataracts and macular deterioration.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is a great reference to follow in order to receive the average daily dietary intake level of a certain nutrient that meets the requirements of nearly all healthy people in a specific stage in their life and gender group.
Although some eye specialists recommend consuming more specific nutrients than the RDA suggests.
Nonetheless, a diet to improve eye health should include the following foods:
- Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and collard greens,
- Carrots, sweet potatoes and butternut squash,
- Salmon, tuna, trout and other oily fish,
- Eggs, nuts, chickpeas, black beans and other vegetarian options that are not meat related,
- Oranges, limes, lemons, mandarins and other citrus fruits (healthy juices are also very beneficial),
- Oysters and pork.
We live in a world where we are all so busy. TV dinners and frozen foods are highly common due to our lack of time. Through these "meals" however, we are not getting the nutrients we need and our health can deteriorate rapidly.
Nevertheless, a well-balanced diet of healthy foods can combat eye trouble. The benefits of healthy eating are aplenty and can be easier to plan than you think.
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Meal prepping has become a revolution because as mentioned above we don't have time to cook nutritious food that will benefit eye-health three times a day.
If the idea of wearing glasses or having a cataracts operation scares you, here are some suggestions for meal preparation to make sure you are eating the correct foods:
- Pick a day to meal prep. Some choose Wednesdays or Sundays as their cook days to prepare meals for the whole week.
- Pick the meals. To avoid the eye deterioration, choose breakfasts, lunches and dinners that are rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, C and E.
- Choose the right containers. Buy containers that will divide each part of the meal. It is very important to choose BPA free plastic Tupperware that is safe and microwaveable.
The effects of a balanced diet are well worth the needed preparation.
Recipes to Choose From
Now you know how to meal prep, but what recipes will contribute to a better vision and eye health?
That is a very good question. Many well-intentioned and health-conscious individuals want to do everything in their power to avoid bad eyesight but are simply lost without the help of a recipe.
Here are some delicious recipes that contribute to eye-health:
- Brocolli Rabe with Garlic & Anchovies,
- Cheese-&-Spinach Stuffed Portobellos (yum!),
- Easy Salmon Cakes (to boost your intake of omega-3s),
- Grilled Halibut Salad Nicoise,
- Green Eggs and Ham Frittata,
- Loaded Spinach Salad,
- Real-Man Quiche.
Am I the only one who is hungry? These easy to make and mouth-watering recipes are available on the link that is cited above from EatingWell.
We cannot stress enough the benefits of nutrition for the eyes. The common saying of "you are what you eat" is so true. If you follow a healthy diet your eyes will thank you later!
Daily Intake of Vitamins
Vitamin A protects against blindness and Vitamin C plays a key role in preventing glaucoma.
So, what does this mean? You have got to take your vitamins!
Daily supplements and vitamins can improve your vision and prevent eventual problems such as cataracts.
It is estimated that every year, in England alone, there are 330,000 cataracts operations performed.
Which Vitamins and Capsules Will Improve My Overall Eye Health?
The results from the AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) have shown that these specific tablets and supplements are beneficial for overall eye health:
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin: these carotenoids (pigments found in your retina) when supplemented help increases the density in your retina. They are also extremely useful for absorbing and blocking out high-energy blue and ultraviolet light. A bottle of 180 capsules can be found on SimplySupplements for £47.29. Invest in your eyes!
- Zinc: scientifically proven to be a powerful antioxidant that protects against cell damage. Highly recommended to be taken with copper supplements.
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine): essential for the health of your eyes because research has proven that this supplement is effective for treating uveitis, an eye condition that can lead to eventual blindness. No one wants that!
- Omega-3 fatty acids: most citizens of the world do not consume enough of these in their regular diets. Extremely crucial in the development of retinal cells.
- Vitamin C: is known to reduce the progression of cataracts. A vitamin with so many uses!
A daily intake of nutritious food needs to be complemented with a high amount of vitamins and supplements to improve your eye health. This is all part of a healthy diet to help you see more clearly!
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Exercise is Good for Your Eyes
Not only is a healthy diet important for your eyes but also an overall healthy lifestyle.
It's a little-known fact that exercise is beneficial for your eyes. Along with a balanced diet, regular exercise can prevent eye diseases and deterioration.
Many studies during the past decade have found a correlation between regular exercise and reducing risks of cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.
This needs to be seriously implemented because researchers suggest that the number of people who are visually impaired or blind will double by 2050. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and recurrent visits to the optometrist can prevent this rapid increase.
Whether it's a brisk walk around the neighbourhood, at-home exercises or frequent visits to the gym, a study, that was conducted over 15 years observing 4000 subjects, has shown that those who exercised at least 3 to 4 times a week were less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Also, it is important to note that those who participate in moderate intensity, low-impact exercise reduced pressure in their eyes and said goodbye to the threats of glaucoma!
Type 2 Diabetes and Eye Disease
A healthy lifestyle is extremely important for those who are suffering from type 2 diabetes because if your condition is not controlled it can damage the retina's blood vessels and this leads to blindness.
Every year, about 1,600 people are certified with major or minor visual impairment in England and Wales due to diabetic eye disease.
Issues with your vision and eye disease can be the result of high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The key to avoiding all of this is very simple, a healthy diet of nutritious foods, a daily intake of eye care supplements and a regular exercise routine.
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Helpful Suggestions that Contribute to Eye Health
There are many things to change when adopting a healthy lifestyle or diet. You must change habits that were previously adopted.
For the health of your eyes, there are many environmental factors that need to be changed or implemented. Such as:
- Quit Smoking: a house full of smoke is very damaging to the eyes. First or second-hand smoke harms the optic nerve and leads to macular degeneration. Smoking is a very disgusting habit that has absolutely no health benefits and if you are struggling to quit seek the help of a professional.
- Wear Sunglasses: the sun's ultraviolet rays boosts your chances of cataracts. How to prevent this environmental factor? Buy a good quality pair of sunglasses that blocks out 99% to 100% of the UVA and UVB rays.
- Computer Screens: many citizens of the UK work in front of computer screens at various offices. Staring at computer screens can cause eyestrain, blurry vision, dry eyes etc. If you have continuous eyestrain talk to your doctor about computer glasses and also try this method: rest your eyes every 20 minutes by looking far away from your computer for 20 seconds to give your eyes the rest they need.
It would be important for those who are over 60 years of age to carefully take into account the previously mentioned factors. Our senior citizens should take into account that visiting the optometrist once a year is required.
If we all take into consideration the information learnt in this article we will enjoy a pair of superb eyes all thanks to a healthy diet and lifestyle, regular exercise and helpful suggestions.
The world is an awe-inspiring place and what a pity it would be if you couldn't experience its beauty due to eye related problems.
You only get one pair of eyes, take care of them well!
Definitions About Eyes
What exactly is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages your optic nerve. It happens when fluid is built up in the front of your eye.
What are cataracts?
Cataracts are a condition that results from the clouding of the eye's natural lens. It results in a blurred vision.
See also how nutrition can affect