Fresh produce contributes to healthy sight

Foods for sight

Eating many fruits and vegetables can promote good eye health

SeeAbility, a charity partner of the London Produce Show and Conference 2015, tells us why a fresh produce rich diet can have huge benefits on sight

We are now well into the annual New Year health-a-thon. Athletic clothing, gym memberships and nutritional supplements are on display everywhere we look. We can’t really help but see it in the shops, on TV and on the variety of screens that control most of our everyday lives. 

This year though, why not focus a bit less on what you’re seeing and a bit more on how you’re seeing it? 

Sight loss charity SeeAbility has teamed up with the London Produce Show and Conference to promote healthy eating for eye health. Most people are familiar with the adage that carrots are good for eyesight, but it’s lesser known that your vision can benefit from a variety of vision-friendly nutrients. 

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that good eye health can be supported by the regular eating of foods rich in vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, the mineral zinc, and some B vitamins like folic acid, B6, and B12.

But how do these nutrients support eye health and where can you find them? Gordon Ilett, Optometrist and SeeAbility Trustee, helps clarify:

“Research to date has helped us to understand that certain vision issues can be slowed or prevented by the inclusion of specific foods in one’s diet,” he says.

“Leafy green vegetables, tomato products, and fruits contain Pro Vitamin A, which is a component of the rhodopsin protein that absorbs light in the cells of our eyes. 

Vitamin E, which we get from nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, is found in the cell membranes of our retina, which help protect our eyes against free radicals.

“Citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli and berries can provide us Vitamin C, which supports the health of blood vessels in our eyes.”

Omega-3 fatty acids are another important nutrient for our eyes, says Illett. Most well renowned for being found in oily fish like salmon or mackerel, Omega-3 is also in walnuts and flax seeds, and is a structural component of the blood vessels and light sensing cells responsible for vision.

“Recent studies have proposed new possibilities of additional nutrients which could be especially helpful to healthy sight, such as evening primrose or starflower,” says Illett. “In time, we will know more about these possibilities. In the meantime, incorporating nutrients that support eye health into your diet can help to slow the progression of age related Macular Degeneration, maintain your vision, and possibly prevent the formation of cataracts.”

SeeAbility, a specialist charity enriching the lives of individuals with sight loss and multiple disabilities. Join them as they eat for eye health at the London Produce Show and Conference in June.

For more information, follow SeeAbility and London Produce Show and onference on Twitter:

@SeeAbility

@LondonProduceSh

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