Nutrition for Eye Health and ARMD Protection

Ok, so food isn’t an alternative to modern medicine, but as we all know diet and lifestyle have a very positive influence on some common yet problematic conditions. 

What is ARMD?

Macular degeneration is a condition that affects the area of the retina that allows us to see fine detail. It's painless but can lead to distorted vision or blank spots when concentrated on single objects. It normally appears later in life and is common in the over 50s', so it's usually referred to as Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD).

How can diet help?

Eating fruits and vegetables containing carotenoid pigments may be linked to a reduced risk for ARMD. Carotenoids are phytochemicals (chemicals found in plants) commonly found in certain fruits and vegetables that provide the naturally vibrant colours of these foods. 

In nature, carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin appear to absorb excess light energy to prevent damage to plants from too much sunlight.  It's believed that the Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-zeaxanthin in the macula block blue light from reaching the underlying structures in the retina, thereby reducing the risk of light-induced damage that could lead to ARMD.

 

There are many food sources containing these two carotenoids – seek further nutritional advice for a full consultation if you are experiencing health concerns. The following foods are examples of good sources: -

Where to find Lutein and Zeaxanthin

  • Egg Yolk – due to the fat content it is likely that the lutein and zeaxanthin are more easily absorbed by the body
  • Broccoli, Kale, Green Beans, Spinach, Peas, Brussel Sprouts
  • Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Parsley
  • Squash, Sun-dried tomatoes, Corn

 

Other health benefits of Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Along with other natural antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E, these important pigments guard the body from damaging effects of free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can destroy cells and play a role in many diseases.

In addition to important eye and vision benefits, Lutein may help protect against atherosclerosis (build-up of fatty deposits in arteries), the disease that leads to most heart attacks.

Nutrition for general eye-health

You don’t need to have or be concerned about ARMD to think about what role nutrition plays to your eye-health.  We’ve all heard that “carrots help you to see in the dark”.  This isn’t an old wives tale! Vitamin A helps protect the surface of the eye (cornea) so it's essential for good vision.

Good food sources of provitamin A carotenoids include carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and cantaloupes. Vitamin A from animal-derived foods is called retinol. Good food sources of retinol vitamin A include beef and chicken liver, whole milk and cheese.


I am very pleased with my new glasses. The advice I was given was great.

P Winter

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