Eating a well-balanced diet that provides us with a variety of vitamins and nutrients is essential in efforts to keep ourselves healthy. What we eat not only impacts our bodies - but it also affects our eyes.
Just as certain vitamins help our bodies run more smoothly, certain vitamins can also improve our vision health, helping to reduce the risk of vision loss. Naturally, many of our patients want to ensure they’re getting the nutrition they need to see their best in the years to come. But this begs the question: what specific nutrients are going to be the most helpful in keeping up with our vision needs? And how can you ensure you’re getting enough of them?
Supplements And Your Vision - Yay Or Nay?
Perhaps, as you’ve evaluated your vision needs, you’ve considered using a multivitamin to support your healthy living needs. It’s certainly not uncommon - as many as 68 percent of Americans take dietary supplements. However, using supplements to obtain your vitamins and nutrients should never be a primary strategy in healthy living.
While supplements can help in some cases, they cannot replace the health benefits that come from eating nutritious foods - particularly fruits and vegetables, which contain much needed fiber. Additionally, in the wrong circumstances, a regular high dosage of specific supplements could potentially do more harm than good.
Doctors - including our team - recommend that you always try to eat the nutrients that will support good vision and overall health. Working with a doctor to determine if a supplement is necessary after making all possible dietary changes will ultimately ensure you make the healthiest decision for your vision and health.
Your Diet And Your Eyes: What To Eat
Now you’re ready to make the dietary changes that will support your eyes - but what do you need to eat? The short and simple answer is “eat the rainbow”. Doctors recommend this approach because eating a variety of colorful foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, is a good way to ensure you are getting all of the nutrients you need. A varied diet will ideally include the following foods:
- Leafy Greens: Leafy greens contain many antioxidants that will help protect your eyes against the damage that could accumulate over time due to exposure to sunlight, cigarette smoke, and air pollution. Leafy greens may also lower your risk of developing glaucoma. They are also helpful in reducing your risk of age related macular degeneration.
- Berries: Fruit tends to be packed in vitamin C, which known to promote healthy capillary growth throughout the body and assists in the absorption of iron - two important parts of healthy, functioning eyes.
- Almonds: Almonds contain high levels of vitamin E, which may help to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to 25 percent.
- Beans: Beans contain high levels of zinc, which can help protect your retina against some of the aging effects that can lead to vision loss.
- Fatty Fish: Whether you prefer tuna, salmon, or mackerel, a fish dinner is a great thing to include in any eye-healthy diet. These fish are rich in omega-3s, which help regulate the growth of blood vessels. Since some eye conditions are caused by overgrowth or abnormal growth of these blood vessels, this regulation can go a long way in aiding in the prevention of diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and retinopathy.
- Walnuts: Walnuts contain high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids which are helpful in treating dry eyes as well.
These foods aren’t the only ones that will support good vision - but they are some of the foods you can begin eating more of as we enter the spring and summer. And remember: before heading to the drug store and picking up supplements that will benefit your eyes, it’s important to consult your doctor, to ensure you take the right supplement for you and you alone!
Have further questions about how nutrition can support your health? Everett and Hurite’s staff can assist you with any eye concerns you may have and recommend the appropriate foods and vitamins for your needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!