It’s long been said ‘you are what you eat’, but it seems many today have forgotten this truism. The benefits of a healthy diet have been trumpeted and researched, but it can be hard to resist the allure of candy, donuts, and other junk food.

However, the more of the junk food you put in your body, the more you damage your body’s ability to fight off damage to your vision and eye diseases, especially macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is an age-related irreversible eye disease, and eating poorly can greatly increase your risk of developing it.

What Not to Eat

It’s not possible to say that food eaten one day can specifically damage your eyes, but there are definitely negative aspects of food that build up in your body. When these ‘anti-nutrients’ begin to build, they can put you at a higher risk of eye disease and other eye problems.

  • High Fat Snack Foods. A recent study by the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary showed that the types of fats in those foods, along with linoleic acid, put junk-food eaters at a higher risk of macular degeneration. Eating these types of fats can double your risk for the disease.
  • Margarine, Fried Foods and Other Sources of Trans-fats. Margarine, deep fried foods, and other processed food contain trans-fats and increase the amount of free-radicals in your body. These free-radicals damage eye cells, cause eye disorders, and speed up the aging process. In addition, deep frying food destroys the nutritional vitamins that can fight those free-radicals. The more you eat these products, the more you put your eyes at risk.
  • Sugary Foods. High amounts of sugar put you at a higher risk for diabetes and other related health problems. It also increases your chances of macular degeneration. Blood sugar spikes put your retina, the most important part of your eye, at risk. If you do indulge in a sugary treat from time to time, be sure it won’t cause a sudden spike in blood sugar. Your eyes will thank you.

What To Eat

It’s not all bad news. There are many foods that are great for your eyes. Here are a few to eat more of!

  • Fish. Assuming the fish isn’t deep fried (see above), it can be a great source of nutrition for your eyes. Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lessen the risk of eye disease when combined with low consumption on linoleic acid. Omega-3 is abundant in albacore tuna and salmon. Having two or more servings of fish per week can make a big difference for your eyes.
  • Deep Green Leafy Vegetables. When mom told you to eat your greens, she wasn’t kidding. Green leafy vegetables like spinach contain vitamin C, beta carotene, and a lot of antioxidants. These vitamins and antioxidants fight the free-radicals that can damage your vision and cause eye disease.
  • Carrots. Yes, what you’ve always been told is true – carrots do help with your vision. Carrots are loaded with beta carotene, which helps reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

In the end, eating healthier helps a lot more than your eyes. But as you age keep in mind that vision issues, especially macular degeneration, can make life a lot more difficult. By eating the right vitamins and nutrients, and avoiding damaging trans-fats, you’ll be seeing clearly for years to come.

This guest post is by Rachael who works for contact lenses supplier ReplaceMyContacts.com

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