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VITAMINS AND MINERALS FOR EYE HEALTH


Some of these studies have shown how certain vitamin and mineral supplements can have a positive effect on eyes and sight. Others have shown there to be no or little benefit. Supplements are still no magic bullet for eye health and will not cure all eye ills. However, experts agree that taking supplements is not a substitute for a healthy diet. The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins and minerals is to eat a wide variety of foods rich in certain vitamins and minerals.
These vitamins and minerals are called antioxidants. Antioxidants help keep our cells and tissues healthy in the eye. All of these vitamins and minerals have a positive effect on eye health from lowering the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts to improving night vision and reducing dry eyes. The following vitamins, minerals show you exactly what natural sources of these vitamins and minerals may improve your everyday vision and eye health.

ESSENTIAL VITAMINS FOR EYE HEALTH


Vitamin A

Vitamin A may as well be called vitamin EYE. There two different types of vitamin A, depending on the type of food source it comes from:
  • Preformed vitamin A is found in animal products such as meat, fish, poultry and dairy foods.
  • Pro-vitamin A is found in plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables.

Preformed Vitamin A

Vitamin A promotes good vision, especially in low light. Vitamin A palmitate (or Retinyl palmitate) is another form of Vitamin that helps with day to day vision. Clearer vision and better vision at night are direct result of getting enough Vitamin A palmitate into your system. Vitamin A also helps the surface of the eye, mucous membranes and skin is effective barriers to bacteria and viruses, reducing the risk of eye infections, respiratory problems and other infectious diseases. Vitamin A deficiency leads to poor eyesight and even blindness.

Natural Sources of Vitamin A (Preformed Vitamin A)

Vitamin A comes from animal sources, such as eggs, meat, fortified milk, cheese, cream, liver, kidney, cod, and halibut fish oil. However, all of these sources -- except for skim milk that has been fortified with Vitamin A -- are high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Beta-Carotene

The most common type of pro-vitamin A is beta-carotene, which are converted to retinol by the body after the food is ingested. For years, beta carotene has been known to have several positive effects on the eyes. It is also known as retinol because it produces the pigments in the retina of the eye. When we consume beta carotenes, our body converts them into forms of Vitamin A called retinols. Vitamin A plays a key role in the bio-electrical process of vision. Vitamin A is also an antioxidant which helps to eliminate free radicals (caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation or the sun) and damaged cells within the eye. Beta-carotene may slow progress of macular degeneration and also prevent dry eyes and night blindness.

Natural Sources of Beta-Carotene (Pro-vitamin A)

  • Bright yellow and orange fruits such as Cantaloupe, Pink grapefruit, and Apricots
  • Vegetables such as Carrots, Pumpkin, Sweet potatoes, Turnip greens and Winter squash
  • Other sources of beta-carotene include most dark green leafy vegetables like Broccoli, Collard greens, Kale, Cilantro, and Spinach are just a few of them.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C and bioflavonoids are important antioxidants that help keep your eyes and body healthy. Foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and many vegetables are also excellent sources of bioflavonoids. Research suggests vitamin C and bioflavonoids have a complementary effect, making them both more effective when ingested together rather than separately. Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant. Abundant in fruits and vegetables, vitamin C helps the body form and maintains connective tissue, including collagen found in the cornea of the eye. Studies suggest long-term consumption of vitamin C also may reduce the risk of forming a cataract and vision loss from macular degeneration. Vitamin C may play a role in preventing or alleviating glaucoma.

Natural Sources of Vitamin C

Sweet Red peppers have more than three times the vitamin C of orange juice. Other vitamin C-rich foods include Green bell peppers, Broccoli, Citrus fruits, Guava and Cantaloupe. Almost any food containing vitamin C also contains bioflavonoids. In addition to Bilberries and Blueberries, other good sources of anthocyanins include acai fruit, Cherries, Plums, Black currant, Cranberries, Raspberries, Eggplant, Red and Purple grapes, Kiwi, Legumes, Red wine and Soy products.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E protects the eyes from damage; Studies show that taking Vitamin E in combination with other antioxidants can help in the prevention of cataracts and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

Natural Sources of Vitamin E

Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Hazelnuts and other nuts are excellent sources of natural vitamin E. Other good sources are vegetable oils, wheat germ, and legumes, Sweet potatoes, avocados, wheat germ and whole grains.

ESSENTIAL MINERALS FOR EYE HEALTH

Your eyes can use some minerals as well. Important minerals for your eyes include zinc and selenium.

ZINC

Zinc is an essential mineral that helps the body absorb and convert Vitamin A, and also helps many antioxidant enzymes in your body reduce the number of free radicals. Our eyes have the most amount of zinc in our whole bodies and need Zinc to function properly. Zinc, an antioxidant that helps protect the retina, where it's more concentrated than in any other organ. In some studies, zinc has been shown to protect against advanced macular degeneration (ARMD) and night blindness. Some research shows that zinc may also slow the progression of cataracts.

Natural Sources of Zinc

Best food sources of zinc include oysters Dungeness crab and other seafood, beef, eggs, turkey, but vegetarians can get zinc from soy beans, grains, black-eyed peas, tofu and wheat germ.

SELENIUM

Selenium is a mineral that helps the body absorb Vitamin E. Further, selenium also helps in converting vitamin E into its antioxidants which play a key role in eye health and in overall body health. When combined with Vitamin A and C, selenium is a vitamin for eye health that has been shown to decrease the risk of macular degeneration. As an antioxidant, selenium can neutralize free radical damage in your eye’s lens and macula. Studies have linked low selenium levels with development of cataracts.

Natural Sources of Selenium

Selenium is found naturally in foods like crab, shrimp, and other seafood Chicken, liver, Yeast, Brazil nuts, brown rice wheat germ and garlic are all great sources of selenium.