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04/04/2017

A diet that allows us to guarantee a good functioning of our visual system and prevent the development of ocular disease must be rich in vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and flavonoids, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. These are foods with antioxidants that protect us from free radical damage and therefore will stop the aging of eye structures.

Vitamins C, E and B1 stand out for their antioxidant power

Vitamin C helps to stimulate our immune system and is a potent antioxidant. It is found in a wide variety of foods, especially in citrus fruits, tomatoes and peppers, and in vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower; vitamin E helps delay the effects of ocular aging and is present in green leafy vegetables, wheat and other cereals, egg yolk, meat, seafood and avocado; and vitamin B1 has as its main sources in pork, fish, nuts, rice, milk and dairy products, wheat germ and yeast. Many studies have shown that teaming these vitamins can delay the onset of cataracts and AMD.

Also noteworthy is the antioxidant power of carotene (pre-vitamin A) and flavonoids

Beta-carotene is the main source of vitamin A and we can find it in foods like carrot, spinach, red pepper, apricot, leek, pumpkin, mango and salmon. The topic "carrot is good for sight" has scientific grounds. Vitamin A is essential for maintaining good vision, combating eye infections, avoiding dry eye and night blindness. Flavonoids are found in green and black tea, wine or dark chocolate and in some fruits such as banana, grape and strawberry. They improve the flow of blood vessels and are a great ally in patients with hypertension.

Lycopene, Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Through the intake of tomatoes and watermelon we can incorporate lycopene into our diet, whereas spinach and green leafy vegetables, corn, broccoli, cabbage, whole grains and cheese are the main sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which act as a natural sunscreen protecting the eye tissues from damage caused by ultraviolet radiation and will therefore reduce the risk of cataracts and AMD.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids, especially DHA, have a neuroprotective effect as well as help relieve dry eye. DHA deficiency can lead to retinal malfunction and is postulated to be useful as a protector in AMD and in other retinopathies, such as retinitis pigmentosa. The best way to incorporate them into the diet is by eating blue fish (salmon, tuna, emperor, sardines), nuts and cod liver oil.

Zinc

It is an antioxidant mineral that protects against free radical damage. It is found in celery, asparagus, liver, figs, potatoes and aubergines

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba is an ancient Chinese tree that stands out as a potent natural antioxidant. It is considered highly effective in neutralizing free radicals during the process of cellular aging.

Avoid saturated fats and refined flours

People who follow diets rich in saturated fat and sugars are more prone to premature eye aging. Thus, it is advisable to reduce as much as possible the intake of simple carbohydrates, refined flour, industrial bakery and pre-cooked foods.

Dr. Idoia Rodríguez Maiztegui

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