As you age, the eyes get affected and can be a victim of diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration. Impaired vision and blindness can also occur in older people. But the good news is that, it is possible to prevent the onset of these age-related eye diseases with a healthy nutrition and lifestyle.
Apart from diet, it’s important to protect eyes from exposure to UV sun rays, extreme temperatures and strong winds. Get medically examined regularly to diagnose if any issue occurs with the eyes. Diabetes increases risk of eye disease related to aging, causing diabetic retinopathy.
Boost your diet in these simple ways:
1. Whole grains and cereals
Include whole grains and cereals in diet to improve eye health. Refined foods like white flour and sugar in breads can increase the risk of age-related eye diseases. Eat whole grains like multi-grain bread, bran bread, whole-wheat flakes and other foods rich in fiber. Fiber slows the digestion and absorption of starch and sugar. It also keeps the stomach full, limiting the amount of calories you consume daily. Half of daily grains and cereals should be 100 percent whole grains.
2. Healthy fats
Fats are a healthy component of diet and they should not be totally excluded. Cook food in polyunsaturated fats like vegetable oils. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are present in fish, walnuts, canola oil and flaxseed oil. They prevent dryness of the eyes and cataract. Fish and seafood should be taken twice weekly. You can also take flax oil everyday. Use canola oil for cooking. Eat walnuts as a snack to stay healthy.
3. High-quality protein
Fat content in meat and cooking method to prepare them makes a meal healthy or unhealthy. Skip saturated fats in red meats and dairy products. Lean meat is good. Fish, legumes, nuts and eggs provide good proteins that are healthy for the eyes. They also give zinc. Eggs contain lutein.
4. Cut down sodium
Cataract can occur because of a high sodium diet. Eat less salt in meals. Avoid canned and packaged foods that have a high content of sodium. Take less than 2000 mg of sodium per day. Eat fresh foods instead of canned or frozen. Apples are the best fruit for people on low-sodium diet.
5. Plenty of water
Staying hydrated provides enough moisture to the body and keeps the eyes healthy. Eat low-fat dairy foods like skimmed milk and healthy drinks like vegetable juices, fresh fruit juices, non-caffeinated herbal tea and plain water. Take at least 2 liters of water daily in Winter and 4 liters in hot weather depending upon your lifestyle.
6. Vitamins for the eyes
Eat foods rich in vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene and zinc. These nutrients are directly associated with the health of the eyes. Include them in daily diet to get the benefits and avoid eye disorders.
7. Vision supplements
Sometimes, diet is deficient in essential nutrients. It’s good to take them as supplements. Take multi-vitamins and minerals daily. Choose the best brand recommended by a physician, dietician or an eye-specialist.
The above-mentioned seven dietary guidelines and regular eye examinations with your optometrist will help you keep your eyes healthy through the years.