You can take control of good health!
Are you like me? You get to the end of your day not realizing what you have eaten or drank. I have four children and I’m active at work and community just like you. I did an elementary science project with my daughter on vitamins and found out that vitamin nutrients are excreted from your body BEFORE you get the proper absorption needed to make a difference. Many vitamins increase your sugar intake. How do we know we are absorbing nutrients to the best of our body’s ability and getting the level we need to make an impact in our health?
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University, (Annals of Internal Medicine, 2013), found that taking a multivitamin does not lower disease or morality risk. Experts agree that different nutrients are absorbed differently and at different levels so it is best to get vitamins and minerals from whole foods. Whole foods contain dietary factors that are not included in supplements. A good example is taking a Vitamin C supplement instead of eating an apple. The apple could provide you with Vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber.
I work with a dietician you can connect to virtually to help assess how your diet can help your overall health and vision performance. I often recommend a specialized, comprehensive blood test to measure vitamins, minerals, amino-fatty acids, and antioxidants called a micronutrient test. I co-manage with certified practitioners who can evaluate how you are absorbing nutrients that may be causing vision problems such as dry eye, inability to adapt to glare, or poor night vision.
Nutrients for Better Vision Performance
The goal for nutrition that helps vision is to support your vision and tissue, reduce glare, strengthen visual acuity, aid against foggy or blurry vision, and to protect from blue light by increasing macular pigment. Here’s a few simple suggestions to start implementing a vision performance diet.
Eggs: Eggs are one of the richest sources of lutein and zeaxanthin. One orange egg yolk can provide about 200 mcg of lutein. As a runner, I love them as a good source of protein (about 6g/egg), vitamin D, and choline. Pastured eggs contain Omega 3 and vitamin E to help with macular pigment density and fight inflammation dry eye. The
American Heart Association suggests one egg per day for those who can eat them as part of an overall healthy diet.
Raw Nuts/Seeds: A natural source of Omega 3, flaxseed, chia seed, and pumpkin seeds add extra crunch to salads. This helps decrease inflammation if you are not nuts for wild fish!
Vegetables with Color: My mom always said add color to your plate, and she was right! Carotenoids give fruits and vegetables their color. Macular carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and mesozeaxanthin help absorb blue light and protect your eyes photoreceptors improving contrast and decreasing glare.
Think green kale, red peppers, orange carrots, and blueberries that are antioxidant rich. Vitamins C, E help reduce clouding of the central lens as you age, improve night vision, and reduce risk of age related macular degeneration. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, red cabbage, and brussel sprouts contain Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, iron, and selenium that promote tissue structure and tear film.
Beef: Growing up in cattle country I know the benefits of moderate red meat diets. B12 and B6 from beef help with blood formation and have cognitive benefits. Vitamin B12 and folic acid blood levels have been linked to lower age related macular degeneration risk. Magnesium can also reduce eye twitching and protect the optic nerve.
While I recommend a natural approach, I do have scientifically researched supplements for individuals who still struggle with absorption of nutrients. The National Eye Institute recommends AREDS formula multivitamins, with lutein and zeaxanthin replacing beta-carotene, as the standard of care for intermediate age related macular degeneration.
Be aware that taking too much of a vitamin or mineral can also cause side effects such as nausea, headaches, or digestive problems. Multivitamins may even inhibit benefits of medications, so contact your primary care practitioner before adding supplements to your diet.
Siaroudi MK, et al. A positive effect of egg consumption on macular pigment and healthy vision: a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. J Sci Food Agric. Jan 24, 2021