Many studies have shown that antioxidants and other nutrients may reduce your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. Certain antioxidants have very specific benefits, for example: vitamin C can help prevent or alleviate glaucoma, whereas vitamin A can protect against blindness.
Other nutrients such as omega-3 essential fatty acids help guard against macular damage and alleviate dry eye syndrome.
In order to receive the proper amounts of micronutrients and vitamins beneficial to sight, your diet should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in varying colors. Below are the amounts of healthy foods you should consume to meet the recommended daily allowance of eyesight-beneficial nutrients as established by the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Sciences).
- When taken in combination with vitamin C, E and zinc, beta-carotene can slow the progression of macular degeneration.
- Food sources of beta-carotene include kale, spinach, carrots and sweet potatoes.
- The recommended daily allowance of beta-carotene has not been established, although most supplements contain between 5,000 and 25,000 IUs
- Bioflavonoids protect against the development of macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Food sources of bioflavonoids include blueberries bilberries citrus fruits, cherries and legumes.
- The recommended daily allowance of bioflavonoids has not been established .
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
- Both lutein and zeaxanthin have been shown to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Food sources include turnip greens, spinach, squash, collard greens and kale.
- The recommended daily allowance of both of these nutrients has not been established.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the symptoms of and possibly prevent dry syndrome and macular degeneration.
- Food sources of omega-3 fatty acids are cold water fish such as herring, salmon and mackerel, walnuts and ground flaxseeds.
- The recommended daily allowance of omega-3 fatty acids has not officially been established, although the American Heart Association recommends 1000 mg per day.
- When combined with vitamins E and C, selenium has been shown to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration.
- Food sources of selenium include brazil nuts, brown rice, and seafood such as crab and shrimp.
- The recommended daily allowance of selenium is 55 mcg for teens and adults, and 60 to 70 mcg for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- Vitamin A helps to alleviate the symptoms of dry eye syndrome and has been shown to protect against night blindness.
- Food sources of vitamin A are butter, eggs, milk, and beef or chicken liver.
- The recommended daily of allowance of vitamin a is 3000 IUs for men and 2,333 IUs for women.
- Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Food sources of vitamin C are strawberries, sweet peppers, kale, oranges, broccoli and cantaloupe.
- The recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is 90 mg per day for men and 70 mg for women. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should take 120 mg per day.
- Vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration.
- Food sources of vitamin D include mackerel, sardines, salmon, milk and fortified orange juice.
- The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D has not been established. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants, children and adolescents take 400 IUs per day.
- The number one source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. The sun’s rays contain ultraviolet radiation which stimulates the human skin to produce vitamin D. Only a few minutes of sun exposure without sunscreen per day is enough. There is no need to sunbathe or tan to reap these benefits.
- Vitamin E has been shown to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration when combined with vitamin C.
- Food sources of vitamin E include hazelnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds.
- The recommended daily allowance of vitamin E is 15 mg for teenagers and adults and 19 mg for breast-feeding or pregnant women.
- Zinc works in conjunction with vitamin A to help reduce the risk of developing night blindness.
- Food sources of zinc include beef, oysters, crab and the dark meat of turkey.
- The recommended daily allowance of zinc is 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should take 12 mg.
The best way to ensure you are receiving the proper amount of all of these eye-healthy nutrients is to supplement your diet with good quality nutritional supplements. It can be difficult to take each of these supplements separately. However, Total Eye Care by Ray and Terry contains all of the essential nutrients needed for proper eye care in one convenient dose. It contains important nutrients in carefully balanced amounts to ensure you receive the proper dosage without receiving too much or too little of any one.