Eye Health for Aging Populations
There are several eye diseases and problems to be wary of; macular degeneration and cataracts for instance. The eyes are imperative for our balance and help us avoid unnecessary injuries – a lack of depth perception can lead to a scalding hot burn.
While many people simply accept that their senses wane as they get older, there are things they can do to preserve and increase eyesight’s longevity. In fact, diet and nutrition play a large role in eye health for aging populations.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Free Radicals
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is an acquired disorder. It is caused in part by aging because of the natural slowing down of the body, i.e. the inability to eliminate free radicals as fast as they form.
That’s the problem with free radicals, when the molecules split, they’re missing an electron, so they have to steal one from another molecule… which means that molecule no longer has an electron, so they steal one, and this sparks a chain reaction.
Of course, that’s where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants locate and donate electrons to free radicals without becoming free radicals themselves. That’s why antioxidants are important! And where do you get antioxidants? Vitamins C and E, i.e. fruits and veggies.
Vitamin C and E
Vitamin C is the most water-soluble antioxidant and is found in all kinds of foods (oranges and onions, cauliflower and cantaloupe). Meanwhile, Vitamin E is one of the most powerful chain-breaking antioxidants and can be found in seeds, spinach, kale, and almonds.
These antioxidants will help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts from forming. Eye health is essential for people who want a long and happy life as the repercussions aren’t simply losing sight, but it can turn into losing the ability to drive, cook, or even walk around at night.
Of course, proper nutrition will keep you healthy and active for years to come, but here are additional foods to eat to promote eye health.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are important elements to have in your diet to prevent chronic eye diseases. These nutrients are typically found leafy green veggies like kale, parsley, turnips, peppers, and spinach.
Zinc is one of those molecules that is always useful, but in the eyes specifically, it helps the retina to produce melanin – a pigment to protect the eyes.
Having a bit of these in your diet is absolutely crucial for sight wellness, but don’t overdo it. If you’re thinking that a little is good, so a lot must be better, that’s rarely proven to be the case with foods as there’s still a lot we don’t know. Right now, the recommendation is that you eat 5 to 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
While you don’t want to overdo it, you do want to eat these essential nutrients and stay away from multivitamins if you can help it.
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