These days, many of us have jobs that require us to stare at computer screens for hours at a time. Add to that the collection of devices we use every day for enjoyment, relaxation, and connection – our modern world can put a real strain on your eyes.Our brain interprets the world through our eyes, not only for
Our brain interprets the world through our eyes, not only for survival but to enjoy form, movement, and beauty and to sense many nuances of our outer experience. Plus we can see colour! What a blessing . . .
No wonder poets and writers have doted on the eyes, calling them the ‘windows of the soul’ – remarking on sweetness, love, compassion or surprise radiating from someone’s eyes. We interpret people’s expressions by our eye ‘language’ and there is even a TV series on interpreting people telling lies through the visual clues they give.
Indeed the eyes tell us lots about our personality and our health, as the practice of iridology so clearly points out . . . however, the ‘focus’ (pardon the pun) here in this post is in what nutrition we can use as ‘tools’, in maintaining or even improving eye health.
Nutrients to Improve Eyesight
It’s safe to say that good general health will tend to keep the eyes healthy, but we all know that living conditions are not perfect for anyone in the current environment. The toxic onslaught from chemicals in food, water, and everyday products; the lack of nutrition in our foods and our generally poor diet; plus general inherited physical weaknesses . . . all add to the the body’s burden to keep us healthy and the delicate structures of the eyes can easily deteriorate.
A 2001 clinical trial, sponsored by the National Eye Institute, also found that taking supplements in the form of minerals, antioxidants, vitamins and even some herbals, reduced the risk of vision loss by at least 19 percent. In the last decade there have been many claims that supplements may help prevent some of the most common eye diseases, there has been extensive research verifying their benefits.
Much of this research has surrounded age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, a leading cause of vision loss. It’s a big problem; 8 million people are at risk for experiencing AMD, and 1.75 million people have an advanced form of AMD, according to the National Eye Institute. It is expected that the number of people who have AMD will double by the year 2020.
The Best Nutrients For Your Eyes!
When a large study called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study, or AREDS, found that people at high risk for advanced AMD lowered their risk of the disease by about 25 percent when treated with a high-dose combination of bilberry, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, and zinc – the eye health researchers took heed.
Researchers intrigued by the improved night vision of the bilberry-eating RAF pilots, eventually identified compounds in the berry – anthocyanosides. These substances appear to fortify blood vessel walls, improving blood flow to the tiny blood vessels that keep eyes healthy, as well as to larger blood vessels that help maintain good circulation throughout the body. Anthocyanosides also appear to strengthen collagen, the protein that provides support to healthy connective tissue.
- Today, Bilberry ranks among the most popular of supplements for maintaining healthy vision and for treating various vision disorders, including poor night vision, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
- The other important healing substance in bilberry fruits, the astringent compounds called tannins – help treat such ailments as diarrhea, sore throat, and inflammations in the mouth. Germany health authorities approve of bilberry fruit for mild cases of diarrhea and mouth and throat inflammation.
- Bilberry also improves varicose veins and other circulatory problems. The active ingredients in bilberry appear to enhance blood flow to vessels that circulate blood throughout the body – so it’s even good for your cardiovascular system. For this reason, the herb may benefit people suffering from poor circulation in their extremities, painful varicose veins, and hemorrhoids – all discomforts that can be expected to improve with enhanced circulation.
A 1988, single-blind, placebo-controlled study of this herb included 60 patients with poor circulation (or venous insufficiency). The results showed that Bilberry extract decreased the participants’ discomfort when taken over a period of 30 days.
Bilberry can be beneficial for:
- For cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye problems
- For the prevention of diabetic retinopathy
- For varicose veins
- For sore throat and diarrhea
Beta-carotene is an anti-oxidant and such can be useful for curbing the excess of damaging free radicals in the body, and as such is often used in natural formulations specific for the eyes. However, beta-carotene is fat-soluble, so an adequate amount of fat is needed in the diet to absorb it into the body. Beta-carotene can be found in yellow, orange, and green leafy fruits and vegetables. These can be carrots, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe, orange, and winter squash.
As a rule of thumb, the greater the intensity of the color of the fruit or vegetable, the more beta-carotene it contains. Carotene is an orange photosynthetic pigment important for photosynthesis. It is responsible for the orange colour of the carrot and many other fruits and vegetables. It contributes to photosynthesis by transmitting the light energy it absorbs to chlorophyll.
Chemically, carotene is a terpene. It is the dimer of retinol (vitamin A) and comes in two primary forms: α and alpha-carotene and beta-carotene also exist. Carotene can be stored in the liver and converted to vitamin A as needed by the body.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for keeping your eyes and your heart healthy.
- Infants: A number of clinical studies have shown omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal infant vision development. DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids are found in maternal breast milk and also are added to some supplemented infant formulas. Omega-3 supplemental formulas appear to stimulate vision development in infants. According to an analysis of several studies conducted by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and published in the journal Pediatrics, the authors found that healthy pre-term infants who were fed DHA-supplemented formula showed significantly better visual acuity at 2 and 4 months of age, compared with similar pre-term infants who were fed formula that did not contain the omega-3 supplement.
- Pregnancy & Foetal Development: Adequate amounts of DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids in the diet of pregnant women also appears to be important in normal infant vision development. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Canadian researchers found that infant girls whose mothers received DHA supplements from their fourth month of pregnancy until delivery were less likely to have below-average visual acuity at 2 months of age than infant girls whose mothers did not receive the omega-3 supplements.
- Infant Vision: A number of clinical studies have shown omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal infant vision development. Grilled salmon is an excellent natural source of omega-3 fatty acids. DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids are found in maternal breast milk and also are added to some supplemented infant formulas. Omega-3 supplemental formulas appear to stimulate vision development in infants. According to an analysis of several studies conducted by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and published in the journal Pediatrics, the authors found that healthy pre-term infants who were fed DHA-supplemented formula showed significantly better visual acuity at 2 and 4 months of age, compared with similar pre-term infants who were fed formula that did not contain the omega-3 supplement.
Guidelines for Diet and Eye Health
Try following these diet guidelines to improve your chance of healthy vision for a lifetime – but remember to use additional nutrient supplementation if you want to experience optimal eye health, and improve your eye sight. REMEMBER: Not all nutritional supplements are alike . . . so it’s best to chose wisely – it will save you money and make a difference to the results you get. Reach out to us or your Savvy Team Wellness Guide for what we use recommend. (we’ll also provide a $10 discount off your first order to get you started!)
- Reduce sugar, grains and cereals. Sugars and refined white flours commonly found in breads and cereal may increase your risk of age-related eye diseases. If you must eat grains, choose 100 percent whole-grains that have lots of fibre which slows down the digestion and absorption of sugars and starches. Fibre also keeps you feeling full, which makes it easier to limit the amount of calories you consume.
- Make sure fats are healthy. The omega-3 essential fatty acids found in fish, flaxseed oil, macadamia, almond, and walnuts help to prevent dry eyes and possibly cataracts. Eat fish or seafood twice weekly, or take krill and flax oil every day. Use fresh whole nuts for snacking.
- Choose good sources of protein. Remember that fat content and cooking methods are what make proteins healthy or unhealthy. Also, avoid saturated fats from red meats and dairy products that may increase your risk of macular degeneration. Choose lean meats, fish, nuts, legumes and eggs for your proteins. Most meats and seafood also are excellent sources of zinc. Eggs are a good source of lutein.
- Stay hydrated. Round out a healthy diet with plenty of water and non-caffeinated herbal teas. Proper hydration also may reduce irritation from dry eyes.
- So make sure you take a broad spectrum multivitamin, a wide range of trace minerals (zinc is only absorbed when in conjunction with its co-factors), and a synergistic blend of antioxidants. If you want the best quality nutrition for your eyes, make sure you contact your Savvy Team Wellness Guide for more information.
- What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?
- Eyes – Common Problems – Victorian Health
- Does Looking At Computers Affect Your Eyes – Medical Life Science News
Have questions? Want to know what we suggest as Eye health supplement? Reach out to your Savvy Team Wellness Guide, message us on Facebook or use our contact page.
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