Nutrition and Macular Degeneration
Age related macular degeneration is the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 65. Symptoms include blurred and/or distorted vision, dark or empty spots in your central vision and blindness in advanced cases. The cause of macular degeneration is associated with the aging process. As you age, your body produces more free radicals which accelerate cellular damage and the degeneration of organs. To prevent the progression of degeneration, antioxidants are needed to neutralize free radicals. Adding certain nutrients to your diet through food or supplements will provide the right antioxidants to help neutralize free radicals and help you save your vision. Through multiple studies, the following antioxidants and nutrients are proven to improve your eye health and slow macular degeneration:
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are found in most green leafy vegetables and other foods. Foods considered good sources of these nutrients are spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, broccoli, corn, garden peas and Brussels sprouts. These nutrients are carotenoid compounds that are found in colorful fruits and vegetables that protect cells from damage.
Vitamin A is found in food including liver, especially cod and halibut liver, various vegetables such as dandelion greens, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach and other sources including egg yolk, milk and butter. Vitamin A is necessary for night vision, wound healing and proper functioning of the immune system.
Vitamin C is found fruits and vegetables such as peppers, citrus fruits, berries, tropical fruits, potatoes, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin C promotes healthy bones, skin and blood vessels including capillaries in the eyes.
Good sources of Vitamin E are nuts of all kinds, sunflower seeds, avocados and spinach. Vitamin E helps protect the membrane of cells against damage caused by free radicals.
Good food sources of Zinc include shellfish and other seafood, beef, eggs, soy and wheat products. Zinc helps the body absorb vitamin A and antioxidant enzymes that reduce the number of free radicals. It is important to avoid taking high doses of Zinc due to adverse effects such as reduced immune function.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold-water fish including salmon, sardines, herring and tuna. Non-fish sources of fatty acids include flaxseed, walnuts and dark green leafy vegetables. Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent dry eyes and any buildup of toxic molecules in the retina with age.
Other Source of Nutrients and Antioxidants
Teas (Black, Green and Oolong) help prevent the growth of new blood vessels in the back of the eye to prevent macular degeneration. When too many blood vessels grow beneath the retina, they leak which cause permanent damage. As an added benefit to drinking tea, it is an excellent way to prevent cataracts.