Conditions such as cataract and macular degeneration are common among seniors, but that doesn’t mean that you should give up on trying to preserve sharp focus. Stress and inflammation are only part of the issue that leads to deteriorating eyesight – we also need to consider the effects of prolonged exposure to blue light from screens.
You can counterbalance these stressors with a healthy diet that is chock-full with vitamins and minerals. That being said, proper nutrition and supplementation are key components to wellbeing and longevity, but if you’ve noticed that your eyesight is waning, you can narrow down your focus on these nutrients that improve vision.
Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory food takes center stage
According to a study, oxidation and inflammation are major contributors to waning eyesight.
This means that antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients provide the best chance to keep your eyesight as sharp as possible, considering the circumstances. Among the nutrients listed in the study (and the ones you can easily find in most accessible and affordable foods) are:
- vitamins E and C
- omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA
Now, as the human body’s capability to draw nutrients from food wanes with age, it’s highly recommended to start taking supplements to get all the nutrients we need. When you can’t make up for the lack through diet, it becomes much more efficient to ingest vitamins in the form of pills or flavored gelatin-based capsules filled with, for example, fish oil.
Naturally, it’s best to consult your doctor first to establish which supplements you should be taking. Beyond that, you’ll need to rely on a diversified diet either way. You know what it says on every supplementation box: supplements are not a replacement for a healthy and balanced diet.
Vitamin E might be the cornerstone of longevity. Certain forms of this vitamin, such as a-tocopherol, attack free radicals, which cause the destruction of fat in cell membranes.
And once you learn that fatty acid chains are abundantly present in your retina, the connection becomes clear – though it’s impossible to underestimate its importance for the proper functioning of the entire body.
Some of the best sources of vitamin E include:
- Seeds: sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- Nuts: peanuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, pecans, pistachios
- Cooking oils: wheat germ, hazelnut, sunflower, almond oils
- Fruits: avocado, mango, kiwi
Vitamin C works well with vitamin E as an antioxidant, so it’s always good to combine the sources of the two in your diet.
Ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, is crucial for synthesizing collagen, which is a fundamental structural component of blood vessels, ligaments, skin, bones, and tendons.
Known antioxidative qualities aside, vitamin C is a building block of well-functioning metabolic processes, and the eye has a high metabolic rate. This means that it needs extra protection and ‘fuel’ in the form of this vitamin.
Since you’re probably well aware that vitamin C is present in citrus fruit and green edibles, there’s hardly anything of significance to add to the topic of groceries.
Beta-carotene is a recognizable orange pigment found in veggies such as carrots. As a compound, it is a primary source of provitamin A, a known element that contributes to better eye health. Other groceries that contain beta-carotene are:
- red pepper
- sweet potato (which also contains vitamin E)
- lettuce, and many others.
Zinc, vitamin C, and magnesium form a trio of vitamins that are simply essential for our day-to-day lives and wellbeing. Zinc is known as a helper-molecule that transports vitamin A from your liver to your retina to create melanin – a pigment in the eye that has a protective role.
You’ll find it in many foods that also contain vitamin E, such as almonds, cashews, and peanuts, but also beans, beef, chicken, milk, yogurt, etc.
Vitamin B complex and fatty acids
The combo of vitamin B complex and essential fatty acids such as omega-3 is easily found these days in the form of fish oil capsules. These are recommended to people of all ages, especially seniors, who require a more direct influx of such “eye-sential” nutrients.
Overall, vitamins and minerals that alleviate inflammatory processes in your body also contribute to maintaining the quality of your eyesight. However, diet alone is not a be-all-end-all answer to your squinting woes.
For example, regular physical activity can also improve the longevity of your eyesight. As you exercise, you strengthen your blood vessels and improve cardiovascular health, which results in regulated blood pressure. Naturally, it affects the pressure in your eyes as well.
Last but not least, we’ll stress once again the importance of discussing supplementation with your doctor before purchasing anything. They’ll be informed about the safety and quality of supplements, as well as your body’s specific needs.
This guest post was graciously provided by Caitlin Evans. Caitlin is a bookworm, photographer and dancer. She is also a graphic designer, but that one is on hold at the moment. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Cate is researching and writing about various lifestyle related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu and caffeine.