Our body does not produce carotenoids, which play an important role in the health of the retina, but obtains them from vegetables and fruit. Vitamin C and Omega3 are also essential, as was recalled at the congress of the Italian Ophthalmological Society (Soi)
The Mediterranean diet is an excellent ally for eye health. Not a single nutrient, taken in large quantities as many believe, which prevents macular degeneration, but a varied diet, rich in fruit, vegetables and cereals, preferably whole, which can provide the right amount of essential nutrients for vista comments Andrea Ghiselli, president of the Italian Society of Food Sciences. The theme of healthy food for the eyes was addressed during the nineteenth international congress of the Italian Ophthalmological Society (Soi), by ophthalmologists and nutritionists.
Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, which intervene to counteract free radicals, responsible for cellular aging, which causes the progressive reduction of ocular focus, explains Matteo Piovella, president of Soi. Lutein and zaexanthin in particular have a protective function. They are carotenoids, that is, vegetable pigments of yellow color, contained above all in spinach, cabbage, chicory, broccoli, chard, which defend the eye from the oxidizing action of continuous Ghiselli sunlight. The macula, the small part in the center of the retina that allows central vision and is responsible for 80% of our visual capacity, is yellow-orange in color precisely because it is made up of these two pigments – explains Piovella -, which derive from the diet. Our body alone does not produce them.
Sources of vitamins
Vitamin C is also on the list of “sight-saving” substances, again for its antioxidant properties. Thanks to our diet, we Italians already introduce a sufficient quantity of vitamin C into the body. Any deficiencies should be diagnosed with a blood test. Avoid DIY and self-prescribing supplements warns Ghiselli. A good source of vitamin C are in addition to oranges and other citrus fruits, all fresh fruit in general, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, cabbage. While carrots, squash, melons and sweet potatoes have high quantities of beta-carotene, a carotenoid which is then transformed into vitamin A, essential for vision, helping to give the eye the sensitivity to continuous light, the nutritionist.
Finally, fish cannot be missing on the table, another friend of sight. Blue fish, trout, tuna and salmon are rich in omega 3, good fatty acids, which influence the development of the nervous structure, therefore also that of the optic nerve – Ghiselli recalls -. Furthermore, anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic molecules derive from their metabolism, improving the vascular health of the eye. Roberto Copparoni, doctor of the general directorate for hygiene and food safety and nutrition of the Ministry of Health, who spoke at the Soi symposium, says: The European Food Safety Authority on 33 requests for authorization to apply on the labels of food products health claims for the eyes, approved only one, that relating to dha, docosahexaenoic acid, which is part of the omega 3. All other requests were rejected due to the lack of sufficient scientific evidence on the related visual function to the nutrient. Copparoni repeats that only a varied and balanced diet, and therefore the synergistic effect of nutrients, can promote the state of well-being of the eyes.
Be careful with sugar
While an exaggerated consumption of sugars, saturated fats and salt combined with excess weight, concludes Ghiselli, contribute to the onset of diabetes and hypertension and consequently to eye diseases, such as diabetic or hypertensive retinopathy, but also to glaucoma, some types of uveitis and dry eye syndrome.
May 25, 2022 (change May 25, 2022 | 12:54)
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