Thursday, July 1, 2010

Benefits of Blueberries for Eyes

BlueberryImage via Wikipedia
We know blueberries taste good, but you may not be aware of the benefits of blueberries for your eyes. When blueberries are consumed regularly, they can actually help maintain your eye sight or even improve it. Although this discovery was made during the Second World War when pilots that consumed blueberries bombed targets more accurately than others, it was largely forgotten until Japanese scientists affirmed the fact with recent research.

When we're young, our immune system has the power to quickly rejuvenate wear and tear on the eyes. Aging, however, causes the self-healing ability of the eyes to slow, and for some it ends altogether. Eating blueberries regularly can often minimize these age-related vision problems or at least slow them down.

One type of age-related eye ailment that blueberries how been shown to help with is known as macular degeneration. Macular degeneration typically begins with yellowish deposits at the center of the retina, a component of the eye that has an active role in the vision process. Although people have clear sight during the early stages of this dreaded disease, the deposits continue to grow and gradually decrease vision quality. Researchers have discovered that this yellowish deposit is caused by high cholesterol levels with the level of vision loss being directly proportional to the drusen buildup in the retina.

Nutrients in blueberries use a two-way process to prevent and cure many eye ailments. First, they reduces the cholesterol levels in the body, which is a very important aspect in avoiding and curing macular degeneration and second, the chemical component and antioxidant anthocyanin, which provides blueberries with their color, works toward rebuilding many types of cells damage in ones retina.

The health benefits of blueberries don't end with helping restore vision and providing antioxidants that improve your general wellness; they can also play a vital role in making you healthy on the outside.  The nutrients in blueberries can also help improve skin, resulting in it looking clearer and smoother.

So if you're believer in the old adage that "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure," then you'll definitely want to incorporate the many benefits of blueberries into your diet. They'll not only help your eyesight, they'll make you look and feel better too!
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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Protect Your Eyes from the Outside Too

The 'Glasses Apostle' in the altarpiece of the church of Bad Wildungen (Germany).Image via WikipediaThere are a variety of ways you might be hurting your eyes without even realizing it. PARADE Magazine has just come out with a good article that names some of the factors you're probably not aware of that really do affect your eyesight. Since many people only pay attention to their vision care every year or two, they might find this article a revelation.

For instance, did you know that the dry air on airplanes can hurt your eyes? And that many injuries to the eyes that happen during sports and often lead to blindness could be prevented by wearing the right eyewear?

This blog has focused a lot on how you can use all natural remedies to care for your eyes and I hope you have learned something by reading it. Now it's in your best interest to take a few minutes to learn how to protect your eyes from the outside in.

Read the PARADE article
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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Vision Care: Vitamin A for Your Eyes

Photograph of Cod Liver Oil capsules.Image via WikipediaDocumentation of vitamin A's benefits to the eyes goes back a long way. Ancient Egyptians ate liver to improve their vision, especially at night. Now we know that liver is one of the richest sources of vitamin A, which is essential for eye health.

Vitamin A is important for bone growth and helps maintain a healthy immune system. It preserves the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes, and is vital for a healthy reproductive system and cell division. Vitamin A is probably best known, though, for its role in eye health. Vitamin A in the diet has been linked to preventing cataracts, and may help prevent macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the world.

Vitamin A deficiency may cause visual fatigue, dry eyes and sensitivity to light. Without sufficient vitamin A, your eyes recover very slowly when exposed to flashes of bright light at night and you may have difficulty seeing in dim light. Unless the vitamin A deficiency is corrected, your cornea can become damaged.

Fortunately, it’s easy to meet your daily vitamin A requirement. Cod liver oil, beef or chicken liver, whole milk and whole eggs all are excellent sources; as are carrots, pumpkin, mango, sweet potatoes, papaya and melon. Eating fresh foods is best, because heating, cooking or canning destroys vitamin A. If you don't want to eat foods that are rich in vitamin A in their raw forms, you can take a nutritional supplement. Because vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin (that is, the body can absorb it only with the help of fat in the diet), it’s best to take vitamin A after a meal.

Some people are particularly at risk of vitamin A deficiency, such as those with cystic fibrosis or pancreatic disorders, or if you’ve had stomach surgery or damage to the intestinal lining after diarrhea. These all cause your ability to absorb vitamin A to be adversely affected.

Vegetarians who do not consume eggs or dairy foods usually have a greater need for vitamin A supplementation, as do people who smoke or drink alcohol -- tobacco use prevents your body from absorbing vitamin A, and drinking alcoholic beverages depletes the vitamin A already stored in your body.

Remember, however, that “more” is not always “better.” To be safe, follow the NIH Institute of Medicine Daily Tolerable Upper Levels for intake of vitamin supplements to help prevent the risk of toxicity:

Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for vitamin A

Age
(years)
Children
(mcg RAE)
Males
(mcg RAE)
Females
(mcg RAE)
Pregnancy
(mcg RAE)
Lactation
(mcg RAE)
1-3300
(1,000 IU)




4-8400
(1,320 IU)




9-13600
(2,000 IU)




14-18
900
(3,000 IU)
700
(2,310 IU)
750
(2,500 IU)
1,200
(4,000 IU)
19+
900
(3,000 IU)
700
(2,310 IU)
770
(2,565 IU)
1,300
(4,300 IU)

Excerpt from the NIH Vitamin A and Carotenoids Fact Sheet:
RDAs for vitamin A are listed as micrograms (mcg) of Retinol Activity Equivalents (RAE) to account for the different biological activities of retinol and provitamin A carotenoids. This table also lists RDAs for vitamin A in International Units (IU), which are used on food and supplement labels (1 RAE = 3.3 IU)

NOTE: The information in this article about vitamin A is not meant to take the place of professional medical advice. Check with your doctor before making decisions on any vision care supplement.
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