With our eyes being one of the most vital organs in our body, it is natural to want to take good care of them. While many people are aware that factors like age, genetics and lifestyle can all impact the overall health of your eye, very few consider the role of diet. Your diet has such a huge impact on so many aspects of your life, from health to mood! In this blog, we are going to discuss different types of foods and answer the question, does diet affect your vision?
Foods that are high in nutrients
Yes, of course, the diet you choose to consume will have an effect on your vision. Like all organs, the eyes require a variety of nutrients to function correctly. A lack of these nutrients can result in significant damage to your eyes over time. Here are some of the nutrients that are essential in order to maintain your vision.
Vitamin A is a critical factor in maintaining good vision. It is a key component of the protein rhodopsin, a protein in the retina that assists with vision in low-light conditions. Vitamin A is readily found in foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and kale.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega fatty acids are essential for the health of the retina and can help prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration or AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults. It is one of the many reasons why we recommend you continue regular vision tests every two years. However, as you get older you are at a higher risk of experiencing at least some degree of macular degeneration, or a range of other issues related to the eyes. So we are happy to see you sooner to remain on top of these issues and get the necessary help, early in the development of any possible issue.
Omega 3 fatty acids are commonly found in foods like salmon, sardines, flaxseeds and many others. Be sure to include some more of these in your daily diet if you’re looking to maintain your vision.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two antioxidants that are found in high concentrations in the retina. These antioxidants can prevent damage to the eyes from harmful blue light and similarly to omega-3 fatty acids, may help prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration. Include foods such as spinach, kale, and broccoli in your diet to increase your intake of these antioxidants.
Foods to avoid
It’s crucial to be mindful of the types of food you consume. Certain foods are going to have a negative impact on your overall health and the well-being of your eyes. Here are some foods you should consider avoiding, or at least limiting, in your diet.
A small amount as a treat from time to time will have very little effect on your overall health. However, regular consumption of processed foods will have a negative effect on your entire body, including your eyes. Processed foods tend to have high levels of saturated fats, salts and sugar. Alongside an increased risk of heart disease and a much higher blood pressure, this can increase your risk of developing AMD and cataracts.
While being a drink, we thought it would be appropriate to include it in this blog. Like processed foods, drinking in moderation is not extremely harmful to the body, some may even argue the benefits. However, excess alcohol consumption can cause damage to the optic nerve, leading to lifelong vision problems.
High Glycemic Index Foods
Foods such as white bread, pasta and rice are classified as foods with a high glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly the body can break down and convert carbohydrates into glucose. Foods that can be broken down quickly have a high glycemic index and food that cannot have a low. This high increase in glucose can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels and potentially damage your eyes.
Maintain a healthy, balanced diet
A diet that is rich in these nutrients can help keep your eyes healthy and prevent vision problems. It’s key you maintain a healthy, balanced diet if you want to extend the longevity of your eyes and avoid potential conditions down the line. Be aware that a diet high in saturated fats can increase the likelihood that a person develop AMD. Similarly, a diet that involves consuming too much sugar can lead to diabetes, a leading cause of blindness in adults.
Any burning questions?
It’s important you understand the effect your diet can have on your vision. Eating a diet that is rich in nutrients like vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, and zinc can help keep your eyes healthy and help to prevent vision problems. At the same time, it is good to try and avoid foods that can harm your eyes, such as those that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sugar. By making healthy food choices, you can help protect your eyes and maintain good vision for years to come.
Obviously diet, whether good or bad, won’t make a difference if you have a hereditary condition, but by following the above rules as much as and where you can, it will help with all health aspects within your body.
If you have any questions about the topics discussed in the blog or think you may be experiencing any of the conditions mentioned above, please get in touch with Focus Medical Eye Centre. Call us today on 0800 980 34 64 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a thorough eye examination. A member of the team will be in touch as soon as possible.