Here’s Looking At You Kid – Easy Ways To Protect Your Eyesight
The health of your eyes depends on your vigilance every season of the year so take advantage of Autumn’s bounty to keep your eyes bright and healthy. We are very fortunate here in New York to have an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables produced by local farmers and available at farmer’s markets and grocery stores alike.
The health of our eyes can be improved with the addition of antioxidant fruits and vegetables to our diet. Research cited by the American Optometric Association has concluded that Vitamins A, C and E, essential fatty acids and zinc will reduce the risk of many eye diseases including macular degeneration and cataracts.
Vitamin A provides us with Beta Carotene which protects the surface of the eye from infection. Kale, spinach, cantaloupe, carrots, pumpkin, winter squash and sweet potato are good sources of vitamin A. Try combining carrots and squash with chopped greens in a soup or stew for a delicious Fall dinner.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to nourish the blood vessels and capillaries to the cornea and retina thereby keeping our eyes clear and healthy. Spinach, tomatoes, peaches, apples, prunes, bell peppers and broccoli help to keep the blood flowing smoothly. Apple orchards are a great place to visit right now. Pick a few and enjoy them sliced with a tablespoon of nut butter.
Vitamin E, also an antioxidant, protects our eyes from free radicals which result from smoking cigarettes and being exposed to various environmental pollutants. Consuming foods such as sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, kiwi, mango and tomatoes may help prevent cataracts and the development of macular degeneration. Grab a handful of seeds or make a fruit salad with kiwi, mango and peaches, topped with a sprinkle of coconut to detox your system of pollutants.
Zinc is an antioxidant which helps our bodies absorb vitamin A, reduce free radicals and has been found to improve night vision. You can get these benefits by eating eggs, peas and baked beans. Make sure the eggs are free-range/cage-free to get the optimal nutritional value.
Essential fatty acids help the drainage system in our eyes by decreasing the risk of a build up of intraocular pressure which may result in glaucoma and, if not treated, blindness. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds and green leafy vegetables will also help dry eye syndrome. Combine the seeds and a variety of lettuces for an interesting and easy nutrition packed salad.
To limit your intake of pesticides and herbicides, look for organic or locally grown produce. Add some of these brightly colored fruits and vegetables to your family meals this Fall to improve the health of your eyes and give your body the nutrients it needs.
Our vision is a treasure that can last a lifetime and is too important to squander with poor food choices. Enjoy the many colors of the harvest! See you in the Fall.