Our eyes take a beating daily. More so now than ever, we subject our eyes to blue light that is emitted from smartphones, tablets and laptops. Many of us don’t use sunglasses when we’re outside. Sometimes, we’re in front of our computers all day, or under fluorescent lights in our offices with little or no natural light exposure.
Because of the daily bombardment of light sources we’re subjected to, we have more of a chance of developing age-related macular degeneration in our old age. Age-related macular degeneration is one the leading causes of blindness in adults age 50 and over. Recent studies have shown that a good diet full of foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can help improve the health of your eyes, and keep age-related macular degeneration from impacting eye health.
A study published in the Journal of Ophthalmology last year showed that a diet rich in lutein is beneficial to us in so many ways. Where can you find these eye-friendly minerals? While there are many supplements on the market touting eye health with lutein, you can find a good dose of lutein and zeaxanthin in spinach, avocado and pistachio nuts. The study pointed out that eggs, which have been called “the superfood of the year,” are also rich in lutein— especially cooked egg yolk.
How do lutein and zeaxanthin protect the eye? Lutein and zeaxanthin are fat-soluble carotenoids that are potent antioxidants. Researchers found that the amount of lutein and zeaxanthin in the eye could be a key factor that determines if we fall victim to age-related macular degeneration, or AGM. The data showed that in the United States, between 2010 and 2050, the disease is likely to double! The study also pointed out that between 1987 and 1992, consumption of lutein-rich foods decreased— increasing the possibility of developing the disease later in life.
Researchers suggest a diet high in lutein and zeaxanthin— found in foods like kale, spinach (cooked or uncooked), pistachios, oranges, tomatoes and eggs, just to name a few— is some of the healthiest ways to get lutein. Researchers believe that increasing your diet with higher intakes of lutein-rich fruits and vegetables is likely to play an important role in protecting against age-related macular degeneration. Changing your diet to include theselutein- and zeaxanthin-rich foods may be just how we can keep our eyes healthy as we age, especially as our electronic devices seem to be attached to us at the hip.
Scripsema NK, Hu D-N and Rosen RB. Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and meso-Zeaxanthin in the Clinical Management of Eye Disease. Journal of Ophthalmology 2015;2015:865179