5 Eating Habits for Healthy Vision

Your mom was right: Carrots do make your eyes strong – and so do plenty of other foods. Follow Dr. Oz’s five simple rules to feed your eyes!

5 Eating Habits for Healthy Vision

For most of us seeing clearly is a fundamental daily experience that we take for granted. But we shouldn’t. More than 10 million Americans over 55 experience macular degeneration, which causes you to slowly lose sight of items in the middle of your field of vision. A leading cause of blindness in older people, macular degeneration is irreversible, but scientists are researching what steps we can take to help prevent it. Eating well may be one of them.

Add in Antioxidants
A large-scale study at the National Eye Institute found that taking high levels of certain antioxidants and zinc can significantly reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Subjects in the study took high doses of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc oxide and copper oxide. And while the NEI does not recommend everyone follow the same regimen, experts do advise making sure you get plenty of these nutrients in a healthy diet. So you can try:

  • Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, Brussels’ sprouts, and broccoli
  • Vitamin E: avocados, nuts, seeds, wheat germ
  • Beta-Carotene: Foods that are bright orange or deep green, including carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, peaches and leafy greens such as kale, collards and spinach
  • Zinc: Turkey, chicken, oysters, chickpeas, fortified cereal

Go Fish
Omega-3 fatty acids, plentiful in oily fish such as salmon and sardines, and nuts such as walnuts, are not only terrific for your heart, but they may help reduce your risk of macular degeneration. Learn more about the healing power of omega-3 fatty acids.

Get Currants
Blackcurrants contain compound anthocyanosides, which may be helpful for promoting night vision. Also called cassis, they can be found in jams, jellies, scones and pies.

Be Green
Two other nutrients that show promise in improving eye health are lutein and zeaxanthin. They sound far out but are easy to find.

  • Good lutein sources: spinach, peas, and green bell peppers
  • Good sources of zeaxanthin: corn, spinach, orange bell peppers, and tangerines

Limit your intake of carbohydrates that are quickly digested and absorbed, such as white bread, corn chips and other refined grains. Diets rich in these “high-glycemic” foods have been shown to increase a key risk factor for the development of macular degeneration.

Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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