It is a common occurrence that as we age, our vision starts to deteriorate. Making a conscious effort to maintain your eyesight should be an ongoing precaution for everyone. Your eye health, and therefore vision, decline in your older years because of external factors such as a lack of protection from UV rays and other (digital) devices emitting high wavelengths of light.
A large factor in maintaining healthy eyes is your diet. A poor diet can precipitate diseases such as diabetes, which can negatively affect eyesight. However, a healthier diet of fruits, various vegetables, leafy greens, and nuts and seeds are encouraged when striving for good eye health. These all things essential to a vegan diet.
Adopting a vegan diet can benefit your body and mind. It can also help you maintain healthy eyes and keen eyesight, especially in your older years when many eye problems tend to arise. Below are some vegan and very nutritious options to eat now to set yourself up for a future of great optical health.
This superfood is arguably one of the most nutrient-packed, healthiest leafy greens you can eat. Including kale in your diet can help you lose weight, fight forms of cancer, and lower cholesterol. Amongst its many wonders, eating kale can also help maintain your eyesight.
Cataracts occur when the lens of your eye(s) become cloudy with pollutant build-up and begins to oxidize, impairing your vision. The onset of cataracts usually happens gradually with age and is one of the most common eye disorders. A diet involving kale can fight off the buildup of these free radicals because it contains large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin — both of which are powerful antioxidants.
Macular degeneration is the leading eye disorder leading to vision loss. As of now, there is no cure for the disease. Macular degeneration happens when the macula, a portion of your retina, starts to decay. As a result, your eye loses the ability to focus its central vision. Kale is said to lower the risk of macular degeneration because the same carotenoids that fight cataracts — lutein and zeaxanthin.
Almonds are commonly referred to as a nut, however, that is untrue. This seed of the fruit from the almond tree contains low saturated and high unsaturated fatty acids, protein, fiber, vitamin E, and antioxidants. A daily serving of almonds is said to have health benefits such as regulating good cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and weight.
Making almonds part your diet can greatly reduce your chances of developing macular degeneration as well as cataracts. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, which is another antioxidant that protects your eyes, and other parts of your body, from the free radicals that deteriorate your macula in the case of macular degeneration, as well as clouding your eye lens in the case of cataracts.
Many citrus fruits contain vitamin C, which is a very effective antioxidant. Among the citrus group is most noticeably oranges. Oranges can help you lower your blood pressure, protect you against a stroke, and even lower your chances of developing cancer.
Oranges also contain beta-carotene, which your body then turns into vitamin A. Vitamin A supports the mucous membranes of the eye from viruses, infections, and inflammation. Ingesting oranges, which contain multiple antioxidants, will also protect yours from macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Kale, almonds, and oranges are all staples in a well-rounded vegan diet. If you are a long-time vegan, your eyes and eyesight are probably in great shape. You’ve been fighting off eye pollutants and deterioration and may not even have known it. However, it is recommended you get an exam every couple of years to check for disorders mentioned above, as well as external factors that may hinder your eyesight.
A vegan diet is great for your body physically and mentally. And a diet that encourages foods packed with necessary nutrients will have enormous health benefits. Vegan foods are very often recommended for lowering blood sugar, losing weight, protecting against certain types of cancers, and heart disease — and of course, helping maintain your eyesight.
Photo Credit: Nithi Anand