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Front Page » June 1, 2006 » Focus on health » Good food for the eyes
Published 3,417 days ago

Good food for the eyes

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Eating properly is not only good for your overall health; it's also good for the eyes, especially as one ages. People can consume certain vitamins and nutrients that researchers have found to nourish and protect the health of the eyes. Following is a breakdown of some of those findings.

•Fruits reduce the risk of AMD. A study from the Channing Laboratory at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) indicates that people who eat a daily diet that includes several servings of fruit can reduce their risk of developing macular degeneration (AMD) as seniors. The study compared seniors' intake of antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids (like beta carotene) as well as fruits and vegetables, and how these elements relate to the development of macular degeneration. Researchers discovered that people who consumed three or more servings of fruit per day over a period of 12 to 18 years reduced their risk of developing macular degeneration by more than 30 percent, compared to people who ate 1.5 servings per day or fewer.

•Vitamin A reduces night blindness. A diet lacking in vitamin A can cause night blindness, a deterioration of light sensitive cells (rods) essential for vision in low lighting. This deficiency also can extensively damage the eye's cornea to create total blindness. Research conducted by ophthalmologist Alfred Sommer, M.D., linked a vitamin A (retinol) deficiency to the very high prevalence of night blindness in children of developing countries such as India and Bangladesh. Sommer found that night blindness decreased by one-third in children who received vitamin A. Sources of vitamin A include: cod liver oil, liver, carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash. While vitamin A supplementation can be beneficial, it can also be toxic if taken at high dosages. Everyone should consult with a doctor before using supplements.

•Vitamins E and C slow cataract growth. Results from the Nurses' Health Study conducted at the Tufts University USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, demonstrate that supplementation with vitamins E and C may offer significant protection against the development of cataracts.

Vitamin E sources include: sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachio nuts, avocados, peanuts, and nut products such as oils and butters, eggs (one egg can provide almost 6 percent of the recommended daily amounts of vitamin E), greens, tomatoes, asparagus, and sweet potatoes.

Sources of vitamin C include: fruits such as guava, oranges, grapefruit, melons, grapes, berries, and fruit juices; vegetables such as peppers, brussel sprouts, potatoes, broccoli, beans, onions, tomatoes, and squash; meat such as liver and organ meats; and some seafood and fish.

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