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Colourful diets are best for healthy eyesight

Scientists have recently discovered why a healthy diet, rich in vitamins and other anti-oxidants can help keep your eyesight in good condition.

As we get older a heathy diet can help prevent common sight problems developing or deteriorating, including cataracts, which affect 2.4 million pensioners in England and Wales and macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of sight loss with 600,000 people affected here in the UK.

Here in the UK, cataracts are most common in older people, with around 50% of those aged over 85 developing them. Cataracts make our vision more opaque (less clear). Researchers at King’s College London revealed that there is up to 30% lower risk of developing cataracts if you eat a high level of vitamin C. The research found that eating the right diet is more important than genetic factors in preventing cataracts. The scientists believe that vitamin C is helpful in cataract prevention because it acts as an anti-oxidant. Anti-oxidants help our cells and tissues stay healthy as they reduce the numbers of damaging free radical molecules.

Macula conditions are also more prevalent as we get older. Vitamins A, C and E and other anti-oxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin present in yellow plants pigments protect your eyesight. Several studies suggest a recommended daily amount of 10mg in your diet.

In summertime, it’s easy to eat the colourful fruit and vegetables that protect your eyesight, as they come into season. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, especially citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemon and limes which are high in vitamin C. Other great fruit and vegetables for all 3 vitamins are tomatoes, carrots, squash and peppers, and green vegetables such as green beans. Lutein and zeaxanthin can be found in yellow and orange peppers, sweetcorn and in green vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli. So, as a general rule, the more colourful your plate looks, the better!

Helen Tilley, optometrist at Monnow Eyecare also recommends having regular sight tests, taking regular exercise, wearing sunglasses and not smoking for looking after your eyesight. It’s easy to book an eye check-up with Helen or with another member of our team, who will all be able to advice you about a healthy diet as part of your eye exam. Simply pop into the practice on Cinderhill Street , book an appointment here or call us on 01600 715299.

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