We all know that eating a balanced diet can improve our overall health, but have you ever realized just how much what we eat can affect our vision? Much of our food is comprised of “empty” calories, which do not provide the nutrients our eyes need. In fact, diets that are high in processed foods, white flour, caffeine, and added sugar can lead to poor vision over time.
By eating a more balanced diet, you may be able to prevent some eye diseases from developing or slow the progression of an existing condition. For example, Vitamin B can help lessen your risk of developing macular degeneration by reducing inflammation while antioxidants and zinc may slow the progression of the disease. Both Vitamin C and Vitamin E can help reduce the risk of cataracts. Other naturally occurring nutrients such as bioflavonoids can help your body absorb and use vitamins.
To make sure your eyes are receiving the nutrients they need, eat a varied diet including lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Remove as many processed ingredients and added sugars as possible, and watch out for hidden ingredients on food labels. For an easy way to introduce more nutrients into your diet, start by ordering a side salad with your meal at a restaurant or making your own at home to accompany the main dish. Not all greens are created equal, so make sure yours are nutrient-rich and not just filler.
You may want to consider taking vitamins or other supplements to help best support eye health. As always, talk to your primary doctor before starting a new diet plan or purchasing supplements of any kind.
Are you eager to learn more about the connection between nutrition and eye health? It is easy to talk about the general correlation and benefits, but you may be wondering exactly how improving your diet could impact your vision. Dr. Stuart Richer, OD, Ph.D., FAAO, is a Chicago-based clinician and professor who frequently presents lectures and lecture series on vision and nutrition. Dr. Richer often prescribes nutrition in the intervention of numerous eye conditions, including cataracts, dry eye, age-related macular degeneration, and low-tension glaucoma. His dedicated research and straightforward lectures help low vision patients understand exactly how and why different nutrients affect vision.
Below is a link to an audio clip of one of Dr. Richer’s most recent lectures. Presented by the Chicago Lighthouse Rehabilitation Center in May 2015, this discussion is entitled “Perspectives on Nutrition, Vision & Eye Health.” The entire lecture is about one-and-a-half hours long, but you will benefit from listening to it for any length of time.
It can be difficult to best support eye health if you are always eating out or purchasing pre-packaged foods rather than preparing most meals at home. Putting together meals on your own makes it easier to consume a balanced diet and avoid unwanted additives. However, the prospect of cooking can be daunting for anyone with low vision problems. Thankfully, working in the kitchen is getting easier with the help of talking kitchen products.
Utilize Talking Kitchen Products
For example, there are now talking microwave ovens that work as well as traditional ovens but may be much easier for those with low vision to use. These ovens have adjustable power levels and cook times and come with a built-in kitchen timer. The buttons are raised and easy to locate, and the unit comes with both written and audio instructions. Plus, the talking feature will help ensure that you are not setting the cook time for too long or too little. Additional talking kitchen products and gadgets include food thermometers liquid jugs, and talking kitchen scales just to mention a few. They can be found here along with many other talking products for the home.
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