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What you eat affects how well you see.

A study published in Ophthalmology found that a well-balanced diet, especially one containing low glycemic foods, can be very helpful in preventing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other eye diseases. Some examples of low glycemic foods are vegetables, nuts, seeds and good quality proteins. High glycemic foods consist of highly refined carbohydrates which tend to spike blood sugar. The nutrients that were the most protective when combined with a low-glycemic-index diet were zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins C and E and omega-3 fatty acids. Spinach, collard greens and kale are examples of vegetables that are rich in carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin. Studies show that eating these types of foods is associated with a reduced risk of developing AMD and cataracts. Some other foods that have these carotenoids are spinach, kale, collard greens, corn, green peas, broccoli, and zucchini. Salmon, tuna, and sardines are all excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which provide support to cell membranes. Several studies suggest that these cold water fish may help prevent dry eye syndrome as well as macular degeneration. Certain fruits are especially valuable for eye health. Blueberries, black currants and dark cherries are high in flavanoids and contain anthocyanins which improve night vision. Apricots are full of nutrients such as beta carotene and lycopene that help encourage good vision. Bilberries appear to enhance eye health by increasing the blood supply to the eyes. Eggs, which contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as sulphur, cysteine, and lecithin, are very beneficial when it comes to eye health. Sulphur protects the lens of the eye from cataracts and is also needed to manufacture glutathione, a critical antioxidant that benefits the lens of the eye. With all the recent research on foods that improve eye health, it might be a good time to start adding more of these beneficial foods to your diet. Nancy Hirsch Certified Nutritionist  

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