The eye is one of the vital organs that you sometimes forget about its health. How to maintain eye health is not only limited to maintaining safe visibility when you watch TV or read books. What you eat also affects the health of your eyes. What foods can help maintain your sense of sight?
Antioxidants and phytonutrients found in green vegetables can provide benefits for eye health. Green spinach, kale, collard, dark green leaf lettuce such as romaine lettuce , and broccoli are good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin function to protect the eyes from high-energy rays that can harm the eyes, for example are ultraviolet rays from the sun. According to some studies, lutein and zeaxanthin help improve the quality of vision, especially in low light conditions.
Not only that, if you eat foods that are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin then you can avoid eye diseases due to old age. Those who eat green vegetables are 50% less likely to develop cataracts later in life.
When eating green vegetables, you will not only get lutein and zeaxanthin, but also various types of vitamins, especially vitamin C and vitamin E. Many studies use a mixture of lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, and vitamin E to prevent various eye diseases.
How much lutein and zeaxanthin do you need? Because it is not a nutrient but rather a phytonutrient, lutein and zeaxanthin do not have the recommended daily consumption. But to maintain eye health, according to The American Optometric Association, it takes about 10 mg of lutein per day, and 2 mg per day for zeaxanthin. In 1 cup of spinach there are already 20.4 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin. While in 1 cup of broccoli there are 1.6 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin. The highest levels of lutein and zeaxanthin were found in kale, which was 23.8 mg per cup.
The advice to eat carrots to maintain eye health must have often been heard by you. This is because the beta carotene content contained in it. But not only carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes which are yellow tend to be orange also contain lots of beta carotene because besides being beneficial for health, carotene also functions to give yellow and orange color to food.
Both carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes actually do not necessarily contain vitamin A. Contained in food in the form of basic ingredients of vitamin A. There are two types of basic ingredients of vitamin A found in food. Namely preformed vitamin A found in animal foods (such as fish, meat, milk and processed products) and vitamin A precursors found in vegetables and fruits in the form of beta carotene. In the body, this preformed and precursor of vitamin A will be converted into vitamin A.
The amount of vitamin A that is recommended for consumption is 500-600 mcg per day for adults. But be careful if you consume vitamin A in preformed form . If consumed in excess, preformed vitamin A can cause health problems and is especially dangerous for pregnant women. Vitamin A supplement made from preformedvitamin A usually has high doses and if you don’t consult with your doctor first it’s not impossible you can experience an overdose of vitamin A. But on the contrary, consumption of vitamin A precursors in the form of beta carotene has no toxic effects on the body. However, if it is too much, your skin may turn slightly yellowish, but after beta carotene intake is reduced your skin color will return to normal.
Recent research has revealed that omega-3 fatty acids can actually improve eye health. Examples of omega 3 fatty acids are DHA, EPA, and ALA. Omega 3 fatty acids consumed by mothers during pregnancy play a role in helping the development of visual function in the fetus. A Canadian study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that babies whose mothers took omega 3 supplements while pregnant turned out to have better vision function when compared to babies whose mothers did not take supplements.
For adults, omega 3 fatty acids can help protect the eyes from various diseases such as decreased eye muscle function and dry eye syndrome. Other essential fatty acids also work to reduce the risk of glaucoma and high pressure on the eyeball. In a 2008 European study, participants who consumed high omega-3 fish (such as salmon, tuna, mackerel) at least once a week had a 50% lower risk of developing neovascular , a disease in which blood vessels grow on the retina and cause damage to retinal cells who are sensitive to light. This causes a blind spot .
Fish, beans, and olive oil are types of foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Choose deep sea fish like tuna and salmon because these fish are rich in omega 3. Nuts like cashews and almonds have fatty acids inside the womb. But the type of bean that contains the most omega 3 is the type of walnut. Plant-derived oil also contains omega 3, olive oil is a source of omega 3 that is easily available and you can use everyday for cooking.
You can get omega 3 from supplements if it is difficult for you to find foods that are rich in omega 3. But the source of omega 3 from food might be better for you. Two large studies related to eye health (Age-Related Eye Disease Study / AREDS and AREDS2) revealed that the risk of suffering from eye disease due to old age in those who received omega-3 supplements was apparently not the same as participants who received omega-3 intake from food daily. Omega 3 obtained from food is more effective in reducing the risk of eye disease due to old age. Someone who runs a healthy diet that is rich in omega 3 has a smaller risk when compared to those who take supplements for 5 years.