Diet and lifestyle can play a role in good eye health and the Macular Degeneration foundation is recommending that people eat a healthy well balanced diet, high in antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients to help keep their eyes healthy.
Macular degeneration awareness week is May27 to June2. Why not make your family's macular health a priority by having your eyes and you family member's eyes tested and macula checked?
Most at risk are Australians over 50, those with a family history of the disease, and those who smoke or have smoked.
Macular degeneration (MD) causes central vision loss and is the leading cause of blindness in Australia. It affects one in seven people over the age of 50 and the incidence increases with age.
The latest studies suggest that diet is important in reducing the risk of macular degeneration and slowing down its progress.
The key nutrients to eat to increase your chances in avoiding macular degeneration are:
Antioxidants: They are important to our health and found in the foods that we eat. They are known to be a protective factor for MD and other diseases.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Are particularly important antioxidants for eye health. They are present in high concentrations in a healthy macula and help protect the eye. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in dark leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, silverbeet and turnip greens as well as naturally yellow fruit and vegetables such as sweet corn and capsicum. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are also found in eye health supplements such as Blackmores Lutein Vision Advanced
Vitamin C: is necessary for the nrmal structure and function of connective tissue. Sources include citrus fruit, broccoli, capsicum and tomatoes. Vitamin C is also found in the Bioglan Multi+VISION Formula.
Vitamin E: plays an important role in protecting cells from the damage caused by free radicals. It is found in nuts, wheatgerm, wholegrains and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin E is also found in the Bioglan Multi+VISION Formula.
Selenium: is necessary for cell protection from some types of damage caused by free radicals. It enables the other antioxidants, such as vitamin E and C, to function more efficiently. It is found in nuts. Brazil nuts contain high levels of selenium. Selenium is also found in the Bioglan Multi + vision Formula.
ZINC: contributes to the structure of the skin and wound healing and is necessary for the structure and function of cells. It is found in meat, seafood (especially oysters), seeds, nutsand wholegrains. Zinc is also found in the Bioglan Multi + vision formula.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS: are found in high levels in the retina and are involved in cell renewal and developement. They can be found in high concentrations in oily varieties of fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies and sardines. Research suggests that eating fish 2 or 3 times a week can reduce the risk of developing MD and may help slow down the progression. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in a large range of fish oil and krill oil supplements.
For more ideas on eating for healthy eyes please call the Macular Degeneration foundation on 1800 111 709 and order your copy of eating for eye health cook book ($25).