How to get key nutrients for healthy vision
(NC)—Popeye trumps Bugs Bunny—at least for nutrition. Carrots are commonly thought of as the best food for eye health. While the beta carotene in carrots helps to support healthy vision – this nutrient supports one aspect of eyesight, night vision.
Move over carrots and beta carotene, there are other foods and nutrients that appeal to eye health. Michael Roizen, M.D., author and co-founder of RealAge.com, provides a brief tutorial here on the best nutrients for eye health:
Lutein & Zeaxanthin – Other eye-healthy, yet not-so-well-known nutrients include lutein [loo-tee-in] and zeaxanthin [zē-ə-'zan-thən] – of the 600 known carotenoids these are the only two that are found in the retina of the eye. Eat dark leafy greens like spinach and you're on your way to incorporating lutein and zeaxanthin into your daily diet. While there is no established RDA for lutein and zeaxanthin, the American Optometric Association recommends 10 mg per day of lutein and 2 mg per day of zeaxanthin.
Omega-3s – DHA omega-3, found in fatty fish, fish oil and algae (the fish get it from algae—they don't make it themselves), is a major structural fat in the retina of your eye (and in your brain). It plays an important role in both infant visual development and visual function throughout life.
Vitamin E – This essential vitamin, found in oils, wheat germ and peanuts, is an antioxidant that supports eye health.
The scientific community is taking vision seriously. AREDS 2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2) was launched to determine whether a combination of key nutrients – including vitamins C and E, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and omega-3s – can further reduce the risk of progression to advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of vision loss in Canada, according to Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).
Secondary analysis showed that the group receiving lutein and zeaxanthin versus those not taking lutein and zeaxanthin, had a 9 percent risk reduction for progression to advanced AMD.
If you're not eating foods rich in these nutrients on a daily basis, there are supplements specifically formulated for eye health. Some of these supplements include Ocuvite and Vitalux.
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