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There are many reasons why a healthy diet is beneficial but now it has been suggested, by an Australian study, that by improving your diet you can reduce the risk of losing your vision.
The study lasted 10 years and involved almost 2,000 Australians aged 65 and above and found that by sticking to a healthy diet the risk of visual impairment significantly reduces in the long-term for older adults. The study measured visual acuity and dietary information to study and establish the link between nutrition and vision loss. Participants had their visual acuity measured and filled out a questionnaire about their diet at the beginning of the study, after 5 years and again at the end of the study. The questionnaire they filled out with their dietary information calculated a Total Diet Score (TDS) which included their energy balance and the quality of their diet.
The studies results revealed that an improved diet was able to decrease the risk of vision loss or problems in the long-term. A higher total diet score could be associated with a significant reduction in the risk of visual impairment when compared to those with lower total diet scores. The study could have huge benefits for those at risk of vision loss, as diet is one of the most modifiable factors contributing to this and given the affects that a diet can have on general health as well, a healthy diet should be top priority.
The findings of this study are significant for the UK population as only last month the NHS called for increased patient involvement, including patients assuming responsibility for their own health by taking measures such as improving diet, reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking.
It’s not always clear what dietary improvements can help aid or impair your vision, so here are our own dietary tips:
A diet containing foods with a low glycemic index can help to reduce the risk for age-related macular degeneration, simply swap refined carbohydrates for quinoa, brown rice, whole oats and whole-wheat breads and pasta to receive these dietary benefits. The vitamin E, zinc and niacin also found in whole grains are able to promote overall eye health.
Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, such as Salmon, Tuna, other cold water fish as well as nuts including Pistachios, Walnuts and Almonds, can all be beneficial to the health of your eyes. Omega 3 can help to protect your eyes from dryness, macular degeneration and even cataracts. Omega 3 is part of the essential fatty acids that are necessary to our diet, as our body can’t produce them so we must obtain these fatty acids from our food. There has also been a number of studies that have shown that omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal infant vision development.
Green vegetables, such as Spinach, Kale and Broccoli, are full of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important plant pigments that can help stem the development of macular degeneration and cataracts. Eggs are also a source of Lutein as well as Vitamin A which can protect against night blindness and dry eyes.
Colourful fruit and vegetables can be excellent sources of Vitamins A and C which can help to boost your eye health. In the eye, vitamin C may help regenerate other important antioxidants, such as vitamin E. They also provide carotenoids which give these fruits and vegetables their colouring and are also thought to help decrease the risk of many eye diseases and problems.