Age-related macular degeneration or AMD for short is one of the main reasons why people over 60 suffer from vision loss. Long before you go completely blind, AMD will cause problems in your central vision, which will affect your ability to read, drive, cook, garden— and anything else that would require you to see.
The disease is well-known for robbing elderly people of their independence long before they lose their sight. Fortunately, there are foods and nutrients that have been specifically shown to be good for your eyes.
When it comes to plant nutrients for your eyes, carotenoids are a must. These are the phytonutrients that give the bright orange, yellow, and red colors to foods such as papaya, pumpkins, and red bell peppers. These affordable foods are especially good for your eyesight.
These foods are high in beta-carotene a type of carotenoid that your body metabolizes to make vitamin A, which is crucial for your vision. Two other carotenoids that you may have heard about—lutein and zeaxanthin—are antioxidants that help protect your eyes from damaging UV rays.
In one study, people who had the highest blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin were 40 percent less likely to develop advanced age-related macular degeneration. Other types of carotenoids lowered the risk by about 25-35 percent.
Another study found that eating a mixture of eye-protective nutrients (including vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and copper) reduced the risk of advanced AMD by 30 percent.
The following nutrients were tested in the final formula:
- 500 mg vitamin C
- 400 international units of vitamin E
- 80 mg zinc
- 2 mg copper
- 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin
In today’s medical world, AMD is not reversible. Its progression can only be slowed. By eating the right foods you can slow down the process and add more time of clear vision and independence to your life. Make sure to get plenty of dark leafy greens, squash, pumpkin, carrots, papayas, and red bell peppers in your diet. Eating these eye-protective foods chopped, pureed, or cooked will ensure the best absorption of these nutrients.