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Eye Health

Diet and Nutrition:

Low Glycemic Impact Food Choices: Well controlled blood sugar decreases the risk for developing Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Age-related Cataracts. In Diabetics, new blood vessel growth in the retina is associated with uncontrolled blood sugar levels. These new blood vessels are weak and can leak, with the potential for vision loss. Building a meal with complete proteins promotes blood sugar regulation. Proteins help the body to build, maintain and repair itself. Complete proteins are found in animal-based sources such as fish, poultry, meat and eggs. Build complete proteins from plant-based sources by combining grains + legumes or grains + nuts + seeds.

Whole Foods High in Fiber:  Whole foods have benefits such as soluble and insoluble fiber which help to regulate blood sugar. Foods high in fiber have been shown to decrease total cholesterol, triglycerides and VLDL levels.  Fiber supports gut health which is integral to nutrient absorption.

Increased Bioavailability: Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble; the vitamin B-complex and vitamin C are water soluble. Dietary fats aid in the transport of fat soluble vitamins.  Of particular importance to eye health are the fat soluble carotenoids in the vitamin A family, lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are the red, orange and yellow pigments found in fruit and vegetables such as kale, spinach, corn, apricots and orange bell peppers. To maximize the body’s ability to transport carotenoids, combine foods rich in carotenoids with a healthy source of fat such as olive oil, avocados or walnuts. Egg yolk contains the most bioavailable source of lutein and zeaxanthin and is preferentially deposited in the macula.

Cooking Techniques:  Steaming, sautéing or pureeing will break down plant cell walls, increasing the body’s access to the lutein found in dark leafy greens.  Cooking tomatoes will increase the availability of lycopene. Heat, however, diminishes the amount of vitamin C present.  To maximize lutein and vitamin C, consume both fresh and cooked vegetable sources. Excessive heat and lengthy cooking times diminish vitamin content however mineral content will remain intact.