When you think about nutrition, you may not be thinking about how it can impact the health of your eyes, in addition to your overall wellness.
Both optometrists and dieticians believe in the power of food and nutrients to enhance lives and improve health!
Both optometrists and dieticians can provide guidance on appropriate foods to help get a boost of beneficial nutrients.
The foods optometrists recommend contain nutrients that are potentially beneficial to our eyes, and may protect against eye conditions. Eating foods high in these nutrients may not be guaranteed protection against these health or eye conditions, but just like eating healthy in general, it can be beneficial to your overall health and wellness. Optometrists are also advocates of living a healthy, active lifestyle and eating well as certain health problems that arise from poor nutrition or exercise can affect the eyes – such as diabetes.
Research has shown that following a diet high in certain nutrients may help to maintain healthier eyes and decrease the risk for eye disease, such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and dry eye syndrome. The eye uses nutrients to function and some of the most important nutrients for eye health include:
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
• Omega-3 fatty acids
Vegetables and fruits, including kale, spinach, orange peppers, kiwi and berries are some examples of foods that contain a high amount of nutrients important for ocular health. Adding cold-water fish, such as salmon, rainbow trout and tuna, to your diet twice a week also helps protect against certain eye diseases. Other foods such as nuts and seeds, and lean meats can also contribute important vitamins and nutrients.
Following a heart healthy diet can also help to maintain eye health by reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Both of these diseases can cause stress to the small blood vessels in the body, particularly in the retina (the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of our eye). This can lead to complications in retinal health and potential vision loss. Also, people who suffer from heart disease have been shown to have a higher risk for age-related macular degeneration. So following a heart healthy diet can also help to maintain eye health.
It’s never too early or too late to start eating nutritious foods that don’t just benefit your eyes, but also benefit your overall health and wellbeing.
OAO is proud to support Dietitians of Canada as an official Nutrition Month communication ambassador, to celebrate and raise awareness to healthy eating. Check out some great healthy recipes (many containing eye healthy nutrients) on Dietitians of Canada’s website.