Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts are relatively common vision problems in older adults. Often it’s just assumed that we will suffer from some vision loss as we age due to conditions like these, but that’s not always the case. You can prevent eye disease and keep your vision healthy.
The following 4 foods may be able to help stave off vision loss while promoting overall eye health.
You don’t see bilberries around as often as blueberries, though they are closely related. They are more common in northern and central Europe than they are in the U.S., though there is clear evidence they may be worth growing for vision health if nothing else.
A study published in Advances in Gerontology in 2005 found that rats with macular degeneration and early senile cataracts suffered no impairment to their lens and retina when given 20 mg of bilberry extract per kilo of body weight. Those rats in the control group, however, suffered degeneration.
Kale and other leafy greens are loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, which are incidentally also found in high concentrations in your macula. Your macula is the small part in the middle of your retina responsible for much of your vision. Research indicates getting 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin each day could assist in preserving eye health.
Both of these carotenoids can also be found in orange and yellow vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, and squash.
(Here are some other tips on how to improve eyesight).
3. Black Currants
Dr. Mercola reports black currants could be even more effective at preserving vision than bilberries and foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. They are rich in anthocyanins and fatty acids, which can protect against a variety of inflammatory conditions.
You can find black currant seed oil or capsules, or you can find the fruit fresh in-season. Though they may be difficult to find at your local grocery store, growing your own is always an option.
4. Wild Alaskan Salmon
If you eat seafood, wild-caught Alaskan salmon contains two specific compounds that can protect your eye health. And because wild-caught Alaskan salmon is lower in mercury contamination, it is one of the fish that may still be considered relatively safe for consumption, Fukushima-pollution notwithstanding.
Rich in omega-3 DHA, salmon can help protect the retina. Research has shown those who have the highest intake of this essential fat have a 60 percent reduced risk of advanced macular degeneration when compared with those who eat the least.
Salmon also contains astaxanthin, an antioxidant. It is said to be even more powerful than lutein and zeaxanthin at protecting your eyes and preventing blindness. Part of this is because astaxanthin easily crosses into the eye tissues where it can provide benefits more directly and with greater potency.