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"Eat your carrots—they're healthy for your eyes", or at least that’s what you’ve been told. While carrots contain important nutrients that are beneficial for vision and eye health, dark leafy green veggies contain higher levels of nutrients that may help delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
These are not the only foods that may help protect your vision. If you want to keep your eyes healthy, there are others we recommend you consume (or avoid!)
What Diet is Good for Macular Degeneration?
To prevent or delay AMD, you should consume a diet containing adequate levels of certain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. A Mediterranean-style diet, which includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, seafood, and nuts and seeds, is a good place to start.
The National Eye Institute advises a nutrient formula to help lower the chance of AMD progression, regardless of how healthy your diet is. That formula is known as the AREDS2 formula eye vitamins. Nonetheless, getting key nutrients from foods and supplements is always a good idea.
Best Foods for Macular Degeneration
Your diet should include the following nutrients:
Vitamins A, C, and E are all antioxidants that help prevent cellular damage. For Vitamin A, make sure you eat a lot of carotenoids, such as kale, spinach and yams, all of which include the ‘eye vitamins’ lutein and zeaxanthin. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits or broccoli, and Vitamin E is abundant in nuts, seeds, and oils.
Omega-3 fatty acids
There are three significant Omega-3s: EPA, DHA (both of which are found in fatty fish), and ALA, found in nuts and seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids help the body fight inflammation, which researchers believe plays a role in AMD. These fatty acids may also help reduce bad cholesterol, which has been associated with AMD.
Zinc and copper
These trace minerals both directly and indirectly contribute to eye health. Zinc, for example, aids in the absorption of the antioxidant vitamin A and regulates cellular function. Zinc is abundant in meats, shellfish, and legumes (i.e. chickpeas). For copper, eat a lot of dark leafy greens as well as seeds, nuts, and eggs.
What Foods Should I Avoid to Prevent Macular Degeneration
It should come as no surprise that the same things that clog your heart's blood vessels also clog the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. Avoid fast foods and limit your intake of the following, especially if you have high cholesterol:
- Tropical oils, like palm oil
- Fatty pork, beef and lamb
- Processed foods that contain trans fats
- Vegetable shortening, lard and margarine
- High-fat dairy foods
Sweets and sugary drinks should also be avoided since they induce inflammation, which leads to the production of eye-damaging free radicals. Moreover, sugary and fatty foods are abundant in calories and are a leading cause of obesity, which has been associated with AMD.
At Corktown Eyecare in Toronto we care about you and your vision. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Vakani to find out what else you can do to protect your vision.
- A: Age-Related Macular Degeneration refers to the deterioration of the central part of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them back to the brain. When the macula is functioning properly, it collects highly detailed images at the center of our vision and sends neural signals through the optic nerve to the brain, which interprets them as sight. When the macula deteriorates, the brain does not receive these clear, bright images, and instead receives blurry or distorted images. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in people over 60. This number is expected to double to nearly 22 million by 2050.
- A: The first symptoms that you may experience of macular degeneration can include:The first symptoms that you may experience of macular degeneration can include:
- Lines appearing wavy
- Decreased or blurry vision
- Blind or dark spots in the center of your vision
- In rare cases, different color perceptio
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