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Perth Nutritionists

Corrin Ainley
Rener Health Clinics

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Foods to protect vision

by on 24 May, 2015

The latest research provides two key nutrients to keep our eyes healthy and can slow down age-related macular degeneration and cateracts.

Good nutrition for healthy eyes and vision is important to me as I was diagnosed with macular degeneration at a very young age.

The latest research provides two specific carotenoids as being the most essential for eye health. These are lutein and zeaxanthin, which are the only carotenoids found in the retina and lens of the eye. The results of epidemiological studies suggest that diets rich in lutein and zeaxanthin may help slow the development of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are present in high concentrations in the macula, where they are efficient absorbers of blue light. By preventing a substantial amount of the blue light entering the eye from reaching the underlying structures involved in vision, lutein and zeaxanthin may protect against light-induced oxidative damage, which is thought to play a role in the pathology of age-related macular degeneration

Four large prospective studies found that men and women with the highest intakes of foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, particularly spinach, kale, and broccoli, were 18-50% less likely to require cataract extraction or develop cataracts.

FOODS WITH LUTEIN AND ZEAXANTHIN  

Kale (cooked) 1 cup                  23.8 mg
Spinach (cooked) 1 cup             20.4 mg
Collards (cooked) 1 cup            14.6 mg
Turnip greens (cooked) 1 cup    12.2 mg
Spinach (raw) 1 cup                     3.8 mg
Corn 1 cup                                    2.2 mg
Green peas 1 cup                        2.2 mg
Broccoli 1 cup                             1.6 mg

SUPPLEMENTS

Along with increasing dietary intake you may wish to use supplementation. Most recent studies show a health benefit for lutein supplementation at 10 mg/day and zeaxanthin  supplementation at 2 mg/day


References

Brown L, Rimm EB, Seddon JM, et al. A prospective study of carotenoid intake and risk of cataract extraction in US men. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70(4):517-524.  (PubMed)
Chasan-Taber L, Willett WC, Seddon JM, et al. A prospective study of carotenoid and vitamin A intakes and risk of cataract extraction in US women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70(4):509-516.  (PubMed)
Christen WG, Manson JE, Glynn RJ, et al. A randomized trial of beta carotene and age-related cataract in US physicians. Arch Ophthalmol. 2003;121(3):372-378.  (PubMed)
Lyle BJ, Mares-Perlman JA, Klein BE, Klein R, Greger JL. Antioxidant intake and risk of incident age-related nuclear cataracts in the Beaver Dam Eye Study. Am J Epidemiol. 1999;149(9):801-809.  (PubMed)

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