Our friends at GreenMedInfo.com have posted information that we can all use. It’s about our eye health and what can make it better, and if we can boost our vision “from the inside out,” we certainly want to do that. We know that nutrition has proven to be our best defense against aging and its degenerative traits, and that includes eye health. These vital foods and supplements can help our eyes stay strong well into our golden years.
1. Ginkgo Biloba
The ginkgo tree is one of the world’s oldest tree species, with the earliest leaf fossils dating from 270 million years ago! Its extract is derived from its leaves and has been used as traditional herbal medicine in China for hundreds of years. Ginkgo biloba is available as a tea, capsule, tablet, or tincture. The antioxidants found in ginkgo leaves are believed to improve eye health by boosting circulation and protecting against damaging free radicals. Studies have shown ginkgo may help reduce age-related macular degeneration, and you may find one here: “Ginkgo biloba extract for age-related macular degeneration.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;2013(1):CD001775. Published 2013 Jan 31. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001775.pub2
Ginkgo has also been shown to increase ocular blood, making it potentially effective in treating glaucoma and other eye diseases, and it may provide an added layer of protection against age-related memory loss and heart disease. Ginkgo should not be combined with other drugs. The maximum recommended dose for ginkgo extract is 240 milligrams (mg) a day.[v]
2. Goji Berry
Goji berries are a special superfood containing all eight essential amino acids and a healthy dose of protein–which is unusual for a fruit. A 2017 study found that a low dose of goji berry extract (between 250 and 350 mg per kilogram (kg) of body weight) helped the symptoms of dry eye disease. Researchers attributed these actions to increased antioxidant and plasma zeaxanthin levels, a common carotenoid. Zeaxanthin is one of two carotenoids that are deposited in high quantities in the retina (macula) of the eye. and it neutralizes unstable free radical molecules associated with retinal-damaging oxidative stress. So goji berries’ high antioxidant profile may further help protect against macular degeneration. A study published in Optometry and Vision Science found that the boost in antioxidant and plasma zeaxanthin levels provided by daily supplementation with goji berry for 90 days protected elderly subjects’ eyes from accumulations in the macula that get deposited under the retina. Gojis, also called wolfberries, are available fresh, dried, and as a juice or extract.
Carrots are widely known to be beneficial for eye health, as they are loaded with beneficial vitamins and micronutrients. Carrots are also a good source of the carotenoids beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, believed to protect against macular degeneration and cataracts. Green leafy vegetables and egg yolks are good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin. The governmental Age-Related Eye Disease Study found that vitamin supplementation that included beta carotene at levels well above the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) reduced the risk of developing advanced macular degeneration by a whopping 25%.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is finally getting the favorable press it deserves, and one of its many benefits to health is retina protection. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in the U.S., affecting more than 10 million Americans–more than cataracts and glaucoma combined. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is diagnosed when drusen, or yellow plaque-like deposits, are found under the surface of the retina. Over time, these deposits can blur the central field of vision and vision loss can become severe and debilitating. One of the prime risk factors for developing AMD is exposure to ultraviolet light. A 1966 study found that rats who were fed a diet of coconut oil and exposed to bright light had significantly better retinal morphologies than rats in control groups. Benefits to the retina increased when the dosage of coconut oil was doubled. Many experts advise a minimum of 2 Tablespoons per day, which may even be absorbed through the skin. Coconut oil is a fantastic moisturizer!
5. Oily Fish
Fish are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acid, and “oily fish” offer higher levels. The fish that contain the most beneficial levels of omega-3s are: Tuna, salmon. trout, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and herring. Some studies have found that fish oil can reverse dry eye, including dry eye caused by spending too much time on a computer.
Your retinas need two types of omega-3 fatty acids to work right: DHA and EPA. You can find both in fatty or oily fish. Omega-3s also seem to protect your eyes from AMD and glaucoma. Be sure to choose fish sourced from non-polluted waters.
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