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Eye Spy: Foods to Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Your eyes are your window to the world, so protecting them is a top priority. One of the best ways to keep your eyes healthy as you age is with nutritional eye friendly foods.   Your mother may have told you to eat your carrots so you can see clearly at night.  But carrots are far from the only foods to keep your eyes healthy.

Egg Yolks -   Egg Yolks are high in lutein, a yellow hued antioxidant.  It is known for its ability to protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.  The egg yolk has gotten a bad rap in the past years due to high cholesterol content.  But eating only the egg whites means you are missing out on a very important protection for your eyes.  Lutein is also found in vegetables, especially green leafy ones, but when 10 volunteers ate different sources of lutein (spinach, eggs or one or two types of lutein supplements) eggs came out on top, says Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. Brazil Nuts - One Brazil Nut contains approximately 120 mcg of selenium.  This is important because selenium's antioxidant activity fights free radicals that can harm the lens or the macula.  So it is believed that it can help reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Blueberries Or Other Berries - This fruit contains anthocyannis, a potent antioxidant that gives fruit its red and blue color.  This helps decrease break down in the eyes due to aging and increases blood flow to the eyes. Salmon - Salmon and other oily fish like sardines, herring, and black cod are rich in omega-3 fats.  Omega-3 fats help protect light-sensing cells and are linked to a lower risk of cataracts.  People who eat fish twice a week and avoid unhealthy trans fats have less than half the chance of developing macular degeneration than those who don't. Papaya - One serving of papaya will give you three times the Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin C.  According to a 2001 study by the National Institutes of Health, people with macular degeneration could slow the disease by getting 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, and 80 mg of zinc every day. Broccoli - Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a cancer-fighting compound that's also a powerful antioxidant. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, human retinal cells treated with sulforaphane were protected from oxidizing free radicals for several days.  If you don't care for broccoli then try cabbage, kale, or turnips.  They also contain high amounts of sulforaphane. Other ways of protecting your eyes are as follows:

  • Wear sunglasses that have both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Wear protective eye gear when doing home and work projects.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear while participating in sporting events.
  • Forgo fireworks.
  • Cover sharp corners of furniture or counters in case of falls near these objects.

By eating healthy and following the above precautions, your eyes should be able to spy all the beauties of the world for a lifetime.   

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