As children weren’t we all told to eat our vegetables before we could leave the dinner table? Well it turns out our mothers were correct! We should be eating our spinach, and better yet, KALE! Dark leafy green vegetables are known to be the best source of antioxidants called lutein, and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are pigments found in our macula, the area in the back of the eye which gives us our detailed central vision. These pigments are responsible for absorbing the blue and UV lighting from everyday objects, therefore protecting our macula from their harmful effects.
Our bodies cannot produce either lutein or zeaxanthin, therefore it is so important to be eating the right diet. Age Related Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Canada for those over the age of 50 years. AMD leads to central vision loss causing a person to be unable to drive, read, or live independently. Eating a diet rich in lutein and zeaxanthin is therefore important to keep our macula as healthy as possible. The current recommended daily amount of lutein is 10 mg and zeaxanthin is 2 mg, to get this intake we should eat ½ cup of cooked leafy greens twice a week and 7 cups raw leafy greens per week.
These antioxidants can be found in kale, spinach, dandelion greens, egg whites, and orange peppers. Adding oil to food high in lutein will significantly increase the body’s ability to absorb the lutein you eat. Vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene also play an important role against disease by protecting tissue from the damaging effects of free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can destroy cells.
It’s never too late to be preventative. Eat Well Too See Well is our goal at EyedeologyTM. Consult one of our Optometrists for further information.