In underdeveloped countries, inadequate nutrition is the main cause of blindness. Vitamins are antioxidants that keep our body including our eyes healthy. Vitamins A, C, and E have all been shown to be important in eyehealth. There is increasing evidence that many fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables and fish contains components which are important for eye health.
Most mothers will tell their children to finish their carrots as it is good for the eyes. Carrots are loaded with Vitamin A. One carrot contains double the USA. recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A. This vitamin is critical in preventing many diseases connected with eyesight. Most importantly it prevents night blindness. Vitamin A deficiency also leads to xerophthalmia, dryness in the eyes, corneal ulcers and swollen eyelids. All these can lead to blindness. Vitamin A is also important as people age, as it prevents cataracts from forming and helps in preventing blindness from macular degeneration. The recommended intake for males is 1000 retinal equivalents (RE) while females need about 800 RE per day, if you feel you are not meeting this with your diet then you may wish to consider an eye health supplement. It is important to read labels if taking Vitamin A eye health supplements as is can be toxic if large amounts area taken. This is also particularly important when you are pregnant as excess Vitamins A can cause birth defects.
Most red, yellow or orange foods contain beta-carotene. The body converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A. Along with carrots, fruits like cantaloupe, mango, vegetables like pumpkin, red pepper, papaya and mango are excellent sources of beta-carotene. Vitamin A is also found in spinach and other green leafy vegetables, sweet potato, fish, especially cod liver oil and chicken or meat liver.
Vitamin C is often called a superhero and is certainly a key ingredient in any eye health supplement. It helps in preventing many age-related vision problems such as cataract. This occurs when there is a buildup of protein which eventually clouds the vision. Vitamins C may also help in delaying age-related macular degeneration which has no cure. A survey showed that if the onset of cataracts could be delayed by ten years, then related operations could be avoided. This is because most cataracts set in as people get older and surgeries are usually done above the age of 65 or 70 meaning that if they are delayed by ten years, cataract will not develop in the person’s lifetime.
Vitamin C is found in all citrus fruits, guava, strawberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, raspberries, tomatoes, plums, green leafy vegetables, red and green peppers, papaya, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, grapes, potatoes, spinach kiwifruit and cranberries. In fact most fruit and vegetable sources contain some Vitamin C. It can also be found in some animal sources but cooking destroys Vitamin C. The USA recommended allowance for Vitamin C in both males and females is 60 milligrams per day. The human body cannot synthesize this vitamin nor does it stay in the body for long. Factors like smoking, pollution, diabetes and other problems affect its absorption. Processing destroys Vitamin C so it is best to eat fresh fruits and vegetables to get the maximum benefits.
Vitamin E also helps in preventing cataracts and macular degeneration and optimizing eye health. The USA recommended daily allowance is 10 mg for males and 8 mg for females. This is found in all nuts, legumes and some fruits like mango, again if dietary intake is not adequate then an eye health supplement may be a good idea.
Research has shown that bioflavonoids also act as important antioxidants and they help us to absorb Vitamin C better. These are the compounds that give fruits their color. Lutein and Zeaxanthin, two other antioxidants found naturally in vegetables and fruits also help in eye health. It is also important to consume foods rich in essential fatty acids and minerals for better eyesight. All in all, it would be best to increase the daily fruit and vegetable intake to keep those peepers in good shape, if this kind of food doesn’t tickle you fancy then it may be worth considering an eye health supplement.
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