Tens of millions of Americans suffer age related losses in at least one of their senses, according to a recent University of Chicago study. And experts warn that once you start losing any of your senses, including vision, you increase your risk of developing dementia.
“People are living longer than ever before in history and with these extended life expectancies comes the likelihood of sensory decline,” Dr. Gary Small, director of the UCLA Longevity Center and author of “The Mind Health Report” newsletter tells Newsmax.
“Sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste diminish in many older adults. In addition to impinging on the quality of life for these seniors, these losses also increase the risk for cognitive decline because less sensory input means less mental stimulation.”
According to the American Optometric Association, many adults begin to have problems with their vision beginning in their early to mid-40’s. These issues may be affected by health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, a family history of macular degeneration or glaucoma, or certain medications such as antihistamines.
These foods may help protect your sight:
- Tuna. A 2016 study revealed that people who ate the most omega-3 fatty-acid-rich fish, like tuna and salmon, had the lowest risk of sight-stealing diseases.
- Blueberries. These violet-hued gems contain anthocyanins which are potent antioxidants that cross the blood-retina barrier to provide extra vision protection and may even improve vision in people who have tension glaucoma, a form of the disease that affects the optic nerve.
- Dark chocolate. A 2018 study published in JAMA Ophthalmology reported that adults who ate a bar of dark chocolate could literally see better two hours afterward. The flavonoids found in dark chocolate may help improve vision in people with glaucoma as well as reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration.
- Spinach. Leafy greens are packed with two powerful antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin—that are stored in the eye’s macula to protect the eyes from damaging light. Lutein is especially good at filtering out blue light, the kind that glares from your computer or phone screen.
- Eggs. Egg yolks are also chock full of these two powerful antioxidants. The best part of getting them from eating an omelet is that both lutein and zeaxanthin are fat soluble so they are more readily absorbed by the body. Egg yolks are also a rich source of vitamin D which studies have shown may protect your eyes against macular degeneration.
- Oysters. Shellfish like oysters are rich in the mineral zinc and that helps keep eyes healthy. Zinc helps vitamin A make melanin, a pigment that protects your eyes, according to the AARP. Zinc deficiency may also cause poor night vision, according to studies.
- Hot tea. A study by the British Journal of Ophthalmology found that folks who drink hot teat every day are 74 percent less likely to develop glaucoma.
- Oranges. Citrus fruit are rich in vitamin C which helps prevent free radical damage to the eyes, thereby reducing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. It also builds collagen, which provides the structure for your cornea. In one study of adults aged 49 and older those who ate an orange daily had a 51percent lower risk of age-related macular degeneration than those who didn’t eat the fruit.
- Sunflower seeds. According to a Spanish study, people who eat 2 ounces of sunflower seeds daily derive the eye-saving benefit of vitamin E which significantly lowers the risk of cataracts and cataract surgery.
- Carrots. As the old joke goes, you never see a bunny wearing glasses. But kidding aside, carrots are a rich source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant your body converts to vitamin A, which is essential for good vision. Beta-carotene also fights off free-radical damage. Eating high amounts may lower your risk for diseases like macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma.