Hopefully most of us have made it through allergy season with our mental and well-being in tack – not to mention our visuals as well. It’s been a rough road to recovery with piles of tissues, bottles of nasal sprays, vials of lubricating eye drops for those dry eyes. And as usual, the schedule for eye appointments always peaks right around allergy season time here at the office.
If there is one thing we locals in Asheville know is one the best remedies for combating allergies, it’s the fact you must eat the local honey! It’s pretty much common knowledge the local honey infuses your body with the necessary antibiotics to fight off or minimize allergies. Isn’t it funny how we’re quick to access this local wisdom when it comes to something as common as allergies, but when it comes to knowing what you can eat to prevent dry eyes, macular degeneration and even cataracts not so much?
Most of the time we don’t really give much thought to our vision until something goes wrong. Given the fact we’re living in an age of “information overload,” life has become very busy. Sometimes we’re not aware something is broken or not operating properly until the warning signals start to beep and go off. In the world of eye health care that would be blurry vision, headaches and/or watery eye symptoms. Yet, much of what we see can be prevented or kept at bay with one simple step.
WATCH WHAT YOU EAT.
One powerful and simple step you can take in protecting your precious sense of sight is by taking mindful steps around your diet; watch what you eat. We don’t often connect the dots between our vision and what we had for breakfast, lunch or dinner but we should. When we bring a sense of intention to what we eat, we empower ourselves to better care for our vision long before a visit to the eye doctor is required.
So, we thought we’d give you a hand by providing you a quick “check list” of foods that are powerful health agents and high in antioxidants. This way the next time you’re out to grab a bite to eat or you’re at the grocery store shopping for your weekly meal plans, you’ll have a head start on what to include on your food list.
Cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help protect against dry eyes, macular degeneration and even cataracts. If you don’t eat seafood, you can get a good supply of omega-3s by using fish oil supplements or taking vegetarian supplements that contain black currant seed oil or flaxseed oil.
Spinach, kale and collard greens, to name just a few, are packed full of lutein and zeaxanthin, important plant pigments that can help stem the development of macular degeneration and cataracts. Broccoli, peas and avocados are also good sources of this powerful antioxidant duo.
The vitamins and nutrients in eggs, including lutein and vitamin A (which may protect against night blindness and dry eyes), promote eye health and function.
A diet containing foods with a low glycemic index (GI) can help reduce your risk for age-related macular degeneration. Swap refined carbohydrates for quinoa, brown rice, whole oats and whole-wheat breads and pasta. The vitamin E, zinc and niacin found in whole grains also help promote overall eye health.
Citrus Fruits and Berries
Oranges, grapefruits, lemons and berries are high in vitamin C, which may reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Pistachios, walnuts, almonds — whichever type tickles your fancy — are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E that boost your eye health.
Kidney beans, black-eyed peas and lentils are good sources of bioflavonoids and zinc — and can help protect the retina and lower the risk for developing macular degeneration and cataracts.
Fish Oil, Flaxseed Oil and Black Currant Seed Oil
These super supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids and have many eye health benefits, including helping to prevent or control dry eye syndrome as well as reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Help keep your eyes healthy and disease-free by snacking on sunflowers seeds, which are excellent sources of vitamin E and zinc.
In moderation, lean beef in your diet can boost your eye health. Beef contains zinc, which helps your body absorb vitamin and may play a role in reducing risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration.