Important Nutrients You Need to Maintain Good Eye Health
by Rachael K.
Beyond all of the quick-fix solutions proposed to those with troubled eyesight is one simple solution: Preserve your eye health while you still have it.
Like any other part of the body, eye health can be sustained well through the consumption of nutrients and basic preventive practices. Key antioxidants not only bolster eye health, but contribute to strengthening the immune system, preventing heart disease, and reducing cancer risks.
Let’s look at a breakdown of just what nutrients can preserve eye health in the long-term.
How to get it: Vitamin C is a vitamin found commonly enough in most foods that you shouldn’t require a supplement – in fact, more often than not, people tend to consume too much of this vitamin, causing the body to dispose of excess amounts anyway.
The best way to take in just the right amount of Vitamin C is to eat a fresh orange or a single cup of strawberries. Or, if you’re more of a veggies person, try shooting for a single cup of broccoli or green bell peppers – all eaten raw for the sake of preserving nutrients.
How much to take in: The American Optometric Association recommends a daily dose of 500 milligrams per day of Vitamin C.
Benefits: Vitamin C is the glorious nutrient that does just about everything you need it to: it strengthens bones, maintains healthy gums and, of course, helps maintain eye health. The vitamin is a crucial nutrient for reducing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
How to get it: Vitamin E can easily be obtained through most fortified cereals, but can also be consumed through most nuts – dry roasted peanuts, almonds, etc. – as well as soybeans. Much like Vitamin C, Vitamin E is not a particularly difficult vitamin to incorporate into your daily diet – even a simple tablespoon of soybean-oil mayonnaise can supply you with a large portion of the recommended daily dosage.
How much to take in: The American Optometric Association sets the ideal daily dosage of Vitamin E at 400 IU per day.
Benefits: Vitamin E is considered the most effective vitamin for fighting off cataract growth, in addition to a slew of other diseases like Alzheimer’s and coronary heart disease. When combined with Vitamin C and carotenoids, it may also significantly reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
How to get it: Copper is obtained through beans, lentils and mixed nuts, but is generally found in most multivitamins, which supplies more than a sufficient amount of the mineral.
How much to take in: The American Optometric Association advises a daily dosage of 2 milligrams per day.
Benefits: The consumption of copper for eye health is somewhat counter-intuitive but necessary all the same. Large consumption of zinc in a regimen meant to strengthen eye health — though more beneficial than detrimental — can cause a copper deficiency. The supplemental copper intake thus prevents any possible health risks that could occur as the result of consuming zinc.
How to get it: Lutein is easily found in dark green leafy vegetables like spinach or kale, as well as egg yolks. Small amounts added to a meal should provide just enough lutein to meet your daily dosage.
How much to take in: The American Optometric Association recommends a daily dosage of 6 to 10 micrograms per day.
Benefits: Lutein prevents cataracts and macular degeneration, as it is naturally found in the macula, protecting it from damaging light effects. For that reason, it plays a crucial role in preventing the effects of age-related macular degeneration.
How to get it: Most lean red meats and poultry items contain more than enough zinc to meet your daily needs. Oatmeal, certain enriched breads, and pastas are also great ways to get your daily dosage of zinc.
How much to take in: The American Optometric Association recommends a daily dosage of 40 to 80 milligrams per day. It is generally recommended that consumption of this particular antioxidant be monitored carefully, as getting too much of the mineral can cause health problems.
Benefits: Zinc is effective in reducing the risk of macular degeneration and works well in combination with other vitamins to also reduce the risk of night blindness.
How to get it: Eating fatty fishes that contain omega-3 fatty acids, including salmon, herring, tuna, and trout, is the easiest way to consume fish oil. Alternatives include walnuts, canola oil, and fish oil supplements.
How much to take in: The American Optometric Association advises a daily dosage of 500 milligrams per day.
Benefits: Those who eat fish at least twice a week have been shown to be about half as likely to suffer from age-related macular degeneration than those who do not. Fish oil is believed to reduce inflammation in the eyes as well as improve nitric oxide production.