Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava
Your eyes are by far the most important organ among the five sense organs – eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin.
They can focus on around 50 different objects every second, and approximately 80 per cent of your learning comes through the eyes.
The eyes are the second most complex organ after the brain.
They can distinguish approximately 10 million different colours with the help of more than one million nerve fibres in the optic nerve that carry visual information.
Nutrients play a vital role in keeping your eyes healthy.
A nutritious diet can help manage and reduce the risk of common conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration.
In this article, we’ll discuss the five most important nutrients essential for eye health and the dietary sources that can provide them.
Vitamin-A is a crucial nutrient that helps in keeping the cornea healthy. The cornea is the transparent outer layer of the eyes that safeguards it from dirt, germs, and other harmful elements.
A diet rich in vitamin-A can help minimize the risk of night blindness and aid in the production of rhodopsin – a protein that allows visibility in low light conditions.
It is also known to reduce the chances of getting affected by:
- Cataracts – A condition that causes cloudy, blurry, & dim vision
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – A condition that causes dark & blurry areas in the centre of vision
Some of the best dietary sources of vitamin-A include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Dried apricots
Vitamin E has antioxidants properties that help minimize the risk of age-related eye complications. It also protects the eye cells from free radicals (unstable molecules that form during cell metabolism).
Here are some vitamin E rich foods to help improve your vision and reduce the risk of various eye ailments:
- Sunflower seeds
- Almond & peanut
- Red bell pepper
Loaded with antioxidant properties, vitamin C is crucial for eye health. It aids collagen production (a protein that provides structure to the eyes) and protects eye cells from free radicals.
Regularly having foods rich in vitamin C can also help minimize the risk of developing conditions like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Include the following foods in your diet to get sufficient vitamin C:
- Chilli pepper
- Thyme (ajwaine ke phool)
- Parsley (ajmod)
- Mustard, spinach, & kale
- Kiwi, lemon, orange, lychee, papaya, & strawberry
Before understanding the role of B vitamins in improving eye health, it is important to learn about homocysteine.
In simple terms, homocysteine is the by-product of protein metabolism. It is an amino acid that increases inflammation and can give rise to AMD.
B vitamins provide various benefits to improve eye health. A few of them include:
- B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid) & B12 (cobalamin): Lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Riboflavin (B2): Minimizes the risk of cataracts and protects from free radicals
- Niacin (B3): Can protect fom glaucoma
- Thiamine (B1): Lowers the risk of cataracts
Include the following foods in your diet to obtain a sufficient amount of B vitamins:
- Spinach & kale
- Beetroot and potato
- Whole grain food & cereal
- Nuts & seeds
- Banana, watermelon, & orange
- Soy milk
- Vitamin B supplements
Omega-3 fatty acids
A diet loaded with an adequate amount of Omega-3 fatty acids aid in the formation of eye cells and may also help reduce the risk of dry eye disease – a condition in which you can experience dryness, occasional blurry vision, and discomfort.
The anti-inflammatory properties of this nutrient can minimize the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy (DR) – eye complication due to diabetes.
Some good dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Chia seeds
- Edamame (soybean ki faliyan)
- Kidney beans (rajma)
Having a balanced diet rich in the above-mentioned five essential nutrients can help improve your eye health and even reduce the risk of various eye ailments.
The best part is that these foods are available in your nearby markets that you can buy them whenever you want.
Furthermore, you should also undergo preventive health checkups. These health checks give a complete report about your health, allowing you to take necessary precautionary measures to improve your well-being and keep a host of ailments at bay.
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