While genetics definitely play a role in eye health, lifestyle also plays a huge role! Especially when you take into account sitting in front of a screen all day at work.
Take a quick recap of your day and ask yourself: How much time did you spend on your computer or phone today? In today's day and age, my guess is a lot! Believe it or not, you can protect your eyes with certain nutrients.
Blue light damages the retinal pigmented epithelial cells - a layer that's way back in the retina. Supplementation with pigments like lutein and zeaxanthin can help protect your retina by building up in front of the retina (in front of your natural pigment layer) and protect it from damage. Essentially, these pigments are acting like a colored armour for your eyes!
You can find lutein and zeaxanthin in foods like leafy greens and egg yolks!
I'm sure you grew up with your parents telling you to eat your carrots because they will help you see farther. While that might be a little bit of a stretch - it's true that Vitamin A is essential for maintaining the photoreceptors in your eye. A deficiency in vitamin A can lead to night blindness and dry eye. Yikes!
Where can you find Vitamin A? Believe it or not, Vitamin A can only be found in animal-derived foods. Not into animal-based foods? No worries! Carrots are still a good way to sneak in some Vitamin A because your body can convert plant-based carotenoids into Vitamin A.
Vitamin C is another antioxidant that seems to be beneficial for eye health. Getting enough vitamin C in your diet can help prevent macular degeneration and cataract development.
The best part? It's super easy to find vitamin C in common foods! Red peppers, kiwis, oranges, and strawberries to name a few.
Concerned that you aren't getting enough vitamin E in your diet? A Vitamin E deficiency that's caused by poor dietary intake is actually pretty rare. If you are deficient in Vitamin E, it's most likely an issue with the way that you absorb fat. Vitamin E deficiency can cause neuromuscular dysfunction in your spinal cord and retina of your eye.
Where can you find Vitamin E? Dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds are a good place to start!
Your eyes naturally contain a pretty high level of zinc. In fact, the highest concentration of zinc in your entire body is found in your eyes! A deficiency of zinc has a pretty substantial impact on your eye development.
Zinc is found in a ton of foods like oysters, different meats, and pumpkin seeds!
There is clinical evidence that selenium plays a protective role in the development of cataract, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and other eye diseases.
Fun fact: One brazil nut gives you 165% DV of selenium!
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Christa Biegler, RD, integrative nutritionist specializes in reversing symptoms of eczema, IBS, Crohn's, Colitis, digestive issues, bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue and autoimmune symptoms, especially Hashimotos.
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