Your Eyes and Your Health
Fitness for mind and body.
Your eyes need nutrition, too!
A natural food component called lutein has gotten a lot of attention in the medical industry. This is because researchers agree that lutein acts as an antioxidant and may help protect cells from damage. Lutein also has the ability to filter out some of the damaging rays of the sun.
Lutein is present in the eye, in both the lens and the macular region. But lutein has its highest concentration in the macula lutea -- the eye tissues responsible for central vision.
Since the body does not make lutein, you can obtain it only from the foods you eat. Studies have shown that the amount of lutein in the macula can be changed based on the level of lutein in the diet, so you should be sure to eat foods that contain lutein. Lutein-containing foods include dark green leafy vegetables and fruits such as oranges and tangerines.
Studies suggest lutein is important because it helps support eye health. In the meantime, why not eat foods high in lutein? After all, they contain lots of other great nutrients as well! Following is a chart of foods that give you lutein.
If you feel you are not getting enough lutein in your diet, you can also take a lutein supplement.
Eyes Part II: The Window to the Soul
Many people do not realize that, to your eye doctor, your eyes are windows into your overall health. Many illnesses show early signs in the eyes, and many diseases can affect your vision. During your eye examination, your eye doctor will look for signs of:
- Hypertension: The appearance of irregular blood vessels on the retina could indicate high blood pressure.
- Diabetes: Small, circular areas of bleeding on the retina may be an early sign of diabetes. Changes in blood sugar levels can cause blurred vision and retinal changes.
- Stroke: Certain characteristics of the blood vessels in the eye may point to a risk of stroke.
- High Cholesterol: The condition of veins and arteries in the eyes can warn of high cholesterol, which may be a risk factor for heart disease.
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Double vision, visual field loss, and uncoordinated or involuntary eye movements can be early signs of MS.
Of course, an eye examination cannot take the place of a general examination by your medical doctor. However, your eyes can offer an important glimpse into the overall health of your body. So whether you wear glasses, contact lenses, or have perfect eyesight, it is a good idea to see your eye doctor once a year.
Edible Eye Guards
Zeaxanthin and lutein - antioxidants that are found in corn, egg yolks, orange peppers and deep green, leafy vegetables such as spinach - can protect your eyes against age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the United States. Now, Harvard researchers have proof that at least one of these antioxidants works by absorbing nasty blue light, before it can damage your retinas. (Blue light is part of sunlight).
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