1 - Spinach
We all know that eating spinach is good for us. This leafy green is particularly rich in vitamin C and iron but it also contains another secret weapon against macular degeneration – nitrates! Nitrates can be converted into nitric oxide which helps to relax your blood vessels and lower your blood pressure too. This is advantageous since high blood pressure is thought to be a risk factor for AMD.
One recent study found that these compounds may help to reduce the risk of developing AMD. This study involved over 2000 participants over the age of 49, following them for a 15 year period. The findings concluded that participants who ate between 100-142mg of vegetable nitrates a day lowered their risk of developing AMD by 35% compared to those that only ate 69mg.1
This is impressive stuff and spinach could go a long way towards helping you reach your 100-142mg a day quota as 100g of spinach contains around 20mg of nitrates!
2 - Pumpkin
Pumpkins aren’t just for carving at Halloween – they’re actually extremely nutritious and dense in eye-boosting minerals like zexananthin, vitamin C and beta-carotene. All of these nutrients can act as antioxidants which help to prevent your eyes from falling victim to free-radical damage, a major cause of premature ageing. Beta-carotene is particularly important here as your body can convert this into vitamin A which can then go on to form a protein in the receptor of your eyes that helps them to filter light.
However, it isn’t just the flesh of the pumpkin that you should be saving – pumpkin seeds also pack another punch against AMD as they are rich in zinc. If you’ve read my blog ‘How does zinc affect your eyes?’ you’ll already guess the benefits this can hold but if you haven’t, simply put, studies have found that zinc, in combination with other antioxidants, could potentially decrease your risk of developing AMD by 25%!2
If you need some ideas about how to use any leftover pumpkin, I’d highly recommend checking out our Nutritionist Emma’s blog, ‘Why you shouldn’t waste your leftover pumpkin’ for some inspiration.
3 – Egg yolks
You might already be familiar with lutein and zeaxanthin – this super combination of carotenoids is mentioned a lot throughout A.Vogel Talks Eye Health and for good reason. These nutrients can help to support your macular by filtering out blue-light waves which could potentially damage this area. However, unfortunately, your body doesn’t produce these two carotenoids so you have to source them from your diet.
Now eggs have gained a bit of an unfair reputation in recent years, with many people believing that they might contribute to high cholesterol levels. Eggs are a valuable source of protein though and egg yolks in particular are a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin! If you’re vegan or vegetarian however, don’t worry! Our Vision Complex contains these two nutrients in abundance and it’s 100% vegan friendly.
4 – Beetroot
Similar to spinach, beetroot is another excellent source of vegetable nitrates which, as I’ve mentioned, can go a long way towards reducing your risk of AMD. However, beetroot aren’t just chockfull of vegetable nitrates – they’re also a great source of vitamin C and iron. Vitamin C is good for your eyes as it can help to promote the production of connective tissues such as collagen, a structural protein that is found in the cornea of your eyes. Iron also contributes to the development of healthy red blood cells, which helps to transport plenty of oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to your eyes!
You can incorporate beetroots into your diet in a variety of ways – you can whip up a colourful beetroot soup or create your own beetroot crisps but one way that’s gained a lot of attention recently is beetroot juice. Unfortunately, most of the beetroot juices you’ll find lining the shelves of your local supermarket are bursting with artificial preservatives and sugars which is why I always try to recommend Biotta’s Organic Beetroot Juice. Not only is this juice lacto-fermented to help support your gut, it’s also gluten-free and is not made from concentrate!
5 – Oily fish
Oily fish is a fantastic source of omega-3, an essential fatty acid that can have some surprising benefits for your eyes. Studies have found that eating oily fish at least twice a week could help to protect your eyes from aging. In one meta-analysis researchers found that, compared to those with the least amount of omega-3 in their diet, those who consumed omega-3 had a 38% lower chance of developing AMD.3
In my blog, ‘Is omega-3 the key to healthy eyes?’ I speak more extensively about how this particular nutrient helps your eyes but, in the case of AMD, it’s thought that DHA, a form of omega-3, could help to protect your retinal cells from damage, keeping your macula safe. If oily fish isn’t to your liking, you could try a vegan-friendly omega-3 supplement like Biocare’s Phytomega-3.
6 – Purple carrot
Purple carrots are amazing for your eyes – just check out our Nutritionist Emma’s blog, ‘Purple carrots evidence for eye health’ if you have any doubts! Here Emma talks at length about the virtues of purple carrots but to summarise, purple carrots are rich in beta-carotene and anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that can help to support your eye health, combatting conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Once again Biotta deliver with their Organic Purple Carrot Juice, a vibrant and sweet way to get your daily intake of purple carrots!
7 – Blackcurrants
Blackcurrants can be particularly useful for cases of dry AMD, where the eyes become very dry and prone to irritation. This is because blackcurrants are chockfull of vi
tamin C, in particular two components known as GLA and linoleic acid which can help to soothe dry eyes. They also help to increase blood flow to the eyes and are another great source of anthocyanins, boasting natural anti-inflammatory properties. That’s why we’ve included blackcurrants in our Vision Complex!
8 – Bell peppers
1https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181019100558.htmDid you know that bell peppers contain more vitamin C than oranges? Peppers just don’t get the attention they deserve sometimes which is a real shame as, aside from being loaded with vitamin C, bell peppers also contain over 30 different types of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene. Research has even found that the humble bell pepper could help to prevent damage to the eyes by absorbing harmful blue-light waves!4