You’ve probably heard a lot of news about eating right for a healthy heart—focusing on a diet low in fat and abundant in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. But did you know that the same nutrients are also good for your eyes? It’s a natural connection, as your eyes rely on tiny arteries for oxygen and nutrients, just as the heart relies on much larger arteries. Being aware of your diet and keeping your arteries in good shape offers a two-for one benefit.
Recent studies, known as the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) published in October of 2001 and a follow-up, (AREDS2), published in May of 2013, zeroed in on the effects of certain antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin on eye health.
The AREDS studies were aimed at people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD)—a disease that takes away the detail and color at the very center of your vision, blocking out letters and faces. The studies concluded that patients with moderate and advanced AMD could benefit from antioxidant supplements. “If you don’t have AMD, we don’t see a need to take high-dose supplements, notes Dr. Paul Bernstein of the Moran Eye Center, a site for the national AREDS2 study, “but it is always wise to focus on a good, heart and eye-healthy diet.”
Think brightly colored fruits and vegetables when you shop for produce. The more vibrant and darker the colors, the better.
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