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Six Ways to Protect Your Eyesight
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim
Here are six simple steps that you can take to protect your eyesight for years to come and even improve your current eyesight:
- Rest your eyes whenever you can.
Whenever you take a short break from your daily duties, close your eyes while you rest. Closing your eyes for a few minutes every hour can dramatically reduce eye strain, tension headaches, and even fatigue.
- Use a flat panel monitor.
If you use a computer on a regular basis, consider getting an LCD (liquid crystal display) monitor. LCD monitors flicker far less often than bulky cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitors, causing less strain to your eyes.
- Eat berries, cherries, and pomegranates.
Blueberries, bilberries, cherries, and pomegranates contain powerful antioxidants that can help to prevent macular degeneration, one of the most common causes of blindness in the elderly. Berries and cherries are concentrated with bioflavonoids that can help to strengthen the small blood vessels that supply your eyes and brain tissue with oxygen and nutrients.
- Include DHA in your diet every day.
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a fatty acid that is found in the retina of your eyes. It can actually help to reverse some of the degenerative changes that occur with macular degeneration. The most reliable and healthy source of DHA that I know of is cod liver oil.
- Eat foods that are high in lutein.
Lutein is an antioxidant that can help to prevent free radical damage that can contribute to problems with your lenses, retinae, optic nerves, optic tracts and an area in the back of your brain that registers everything that you see. Lutein-rich foods include: kale, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, corn, avocado, and organic egg yolks. It's important to note that lutein is a fat-soluble nutrient, so is best absorbed into your blood in the presence of healthy fats. It best to eat your greens with foods that are rich in healthy fats like avocado, olives, raw nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, organic eggs, and organic butter.
- Stay away from unhealthy fats and oils.
Unhealthy fats and oils are those that include trans fatty acids, which can cause direct damage to the blood vessels that supply your eyes and brain. The easiest way to identify foods that contain trans fats is to look for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil on your food labels. It doesn't matter what oil it is - soy, corn, palm, safflower, sunflower - all hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils come with trans fatty acids. Stay away from all brands of margarine and spreads made from vegetable oils, commercially baked goods like donuts, pastries, and cookies, and fried foods like French fries, tempura, fried fish, and fried chicken.
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