Foods That Boost Eyesight

Monday, 18 Mar 2013 05:35 PM

By Nick Tate

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You already know carrots are good for your eyesight. But new research out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham indicates many other foods — including fruits, vegetables, and fish — contain beneficial nutrients that can help you maintain 20-20 vision.

The UAB researchers noted studies by the the National Eye Institute (NEI) have shown that high levels of antioxidants and zinc — in addition to beta-carotene in carrots — can reduce the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness.
 
“You are what you eat; it’s trite but it’s true,” noted UAB School of Optometry Professor Leo Semes. “It’s been shown that certain habits like eating a high-fat diet are associated with, but not causative, in AMD.”

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Semes added that while carrots have long been connected with improving vision, other foods and nutritional supplements can also keep your eyes healthy.
 
“Carrots are high in beta-carotene,” Semes said. “But beta-carotene alone is not going to be protective enough. There’s also a tangential relationship that a lack of vitamin A, a cousin of beta-carotene, is implicated in poor darkness adaptation.”
 
Semes, who serves on the American Optometric Association Health and Nutrition Committee, helped developed a list of specific foods and nutrients that have been found to be beneficial to eye health. Among them:
  • Fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C, which can help minimize cataracts and AMD.
  • Fleshy fish (tuna or salmon) and lean meats that contain fatty acids, which help prevent AMD.
  • Red meats and whole grains containing zinc, which can reduce the risk of cataracts.
  • Vegetable oils that contain vitamin E, which has been shown to slow progression of AM.
Cynthia Owsley, a professor and vice chair for clinical research in the Department of Ophthalmology, said dietary supplements are “not a cure for AMD,” but added that they can reduce the risks of vision loss from the disease.

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