Feast your eyes

With my annual eye test coming up, I have been thinking about how best we can look after our eyes, especially as we get older.  

Your granny might have told you that eating carrots would help you see in the dark.  There is grain of truth in this in that carrots are rich in retinol, the precursor to vitamin A, which is an antioxidant.  Free radicals which are produced by our normal metabolism are destructive to the cells of our bodies but can be neutralised by antioxidants.  In this way antioxidants can help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.  

Other antioxidants that are beneficial in preventing macular degeneration and cataracts include lutein and zeaxanthin which can be found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, lettuce and broccoli.    Also vitamin C,  an antioxidant which can be found in oranges, lemons, grapefruit, kiwi and peppers.  

Anthocyanins in red cabbage, blueberries, aubergines, grapes etc are wonderful for general eye health because they help increase circulation to the eyes which benefits eye health in general and may help prevent macular degeneration, floaters, cataracts and even glaucoma.

Omega 3 is important to eye health too.  Vegan sources include nuts (also a source of vitamin E, another antioxidant).  Please see 'Where do vegans get their omega 3s from?' http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/where-do-vegans-get-their-omega-3s-from.html

For healthy eyes, I would also recommend that you avoid refined carbohydrates especially sugar.  The reason for this is that sugars bind to amino acids producing advanced glycation end products (AGEs)and this can lead to damage to the eyes as well as such degenerative diseases as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's and diabetes. Instead eat slow release carbs such as oats, brown rice, and quinoa. Beans and lentils are not only slow release but are a good source of zinc, another antioxidant that is also important for eye health.  Zinc is part of the macula which is part of the retina and zinc is needed for the production of melanin which protects the eye.

You might also like to watch the yoga video on my YouTube Channel, 'Eye yoga'- 

Stay well, look after your eyes

Janet x

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