Nutrition and Eye Health: A Bite-Sized Guide to Healthy Happy Eyes
Today I am going to talk about the importance of eating a healthy balanced diet to keep your eyes in tip top shape! Many of us know that eating well and exercising is important for keeping healthy and feeling fit …. But does maintaining a healthy body really have a long term effect on the health of your eyes?
The simple answer is YES, IT DOES!!
We all know that a poor diet and not enough exercise can lead to health conditions such as Type II Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol. These conditions can each affect the health of our eyes.
Diabetes: Diabetes is currently the biggest cause of blindness in the working population in the UK. People living with Diabetes in the UK have regular eye checks to detect the early signs of Diabetic Retinopathy. This is a condition where high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the delicate vessels at the back of the eye. When these delicate vessel bleed this can cause damage to the retina at the back of the eye causing a loss of vision.
High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol: These conditions can put extra strain on your blood vessels and cause damage to many of the organs within the body including the eyes. If your blood pressure and cholesterol are high then a blockage within the blood vessels can cause retinal vein and artery occlusions, both of which can result in vision loss. In more serious cases they can result in heart attack and stroke, which again in turn affect the eyes!
So you get the picture …
AN UNHEALTHY DIET & NOT ENOUGH EXERCISE = BAD NEWS FOR YOUR EYES!!
But enough of the doom and gloom, lets focus now on what we SHOULD be doing to keep our eyes healthy.
Eat a RAINBOW: (And no this isn’t an excuse to pop down to the local corner shop and gorge yourself on smarties and skittles!) This is the simplest way of summing up how your diet should look. Fill your plate with a rainbow of different coloured fruits and vegetables to ensure you are getting the essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep your body (and eyes) healthy!
Be more PopEYE: Spinach and Kale have been found to be a great source of the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These have been shown to play a role in keeping the macular healthy (the part of the eye affected by Age-Related Macular Degeneration, one of our BIG FOUR eye conditions!). Looks like Popeye was onto something after all!
Help yourself ‘C’ better: Vitamin C helps the body to form and maintain collagen which is found in areas of the eye such as the cornea (the front part of your eye). It is also thought to play a role in reducing the risk of Cataract and Age-related Macular Degeneration. Like Lutein and Zeaxanthin we are unable to produce Vitamin C so we should get our daily dose from consuming foods such as Strawberries, Sweet red peppers, Oranges and Broccoli, all of which contain Vitamin C!
Say ‘Goodbye’ to Dry Eyes: To maintain a healthy balanced diet it is recommended that you eat two portions of fish a week, at least one of which should be an oily fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This is great news for your eyes as these fatty acids have been shown to play a part in reducing dry eye. Fish such as Salmon, mackerel and sardines are also a great source of Vitamin D which is another handy little vitamin boost for your eyes!
A GOOD DIET & HEALTHY LIFESTYLE = HEALTHY HAPPY EYES!!
Should I take a supplement?
There are many studies including the famous AREDS and AREDS 2 studies which have shown varying results with regards to the effect of different supplements and eye health. If you have a healthy balanced diet and eat your five-a-day then you should not need to use supplements to try to improve your eye health. If you are unsure then it is best to ask your GP or Ophthalmologist for advice as supplements are not suitable for everyone.
So is everyone ready to cook up a storm in the kitchen? I hope so! Keep up to date with our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages for some handy healthy eating ideas that are great for your eyes!
Until next time…
Facebook: Bennett and Batty Opticians @opticianLiverpool1
For more information about nutrition and looking after your eyes visit: https://www.rnib.org.uk/eye-health/looking-after-your-eyes/nutrition-and-eye
For some healthy living tips visit: