Eat Foods with Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Eye Health
Written by Lorie Eber
Worried about losing your eyesight to glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or macular degeneration? Suffering from dry eye syndrome? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a magic elixir we could take that could preserve our eyesight?
There is a miracle eye preserver and it’s readily ingestible. By choosing healthy foods, you can avoid becoming one of the 2.7 million Americans with glaucoma or the one in ten who will develop age-related macular degeneration by age 80. The secret lies in eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like fatty fish, nuts, leafy greens, and chia seeds.
Several robust research studies demonstrate a strong correlation between two types of omega-3 fatty acids—DHA and EPA—and healthy eyes. Omega-3s are referred to as “essential” fatty acids because our bodies don’t make them, so we must get them through our diets. Taking supplements is another alternative, but effective dosages are uncertain and some studies show them to be less effective than food sources.
Omega-3s, the “building blocks of fat,” are important over the course of our entire lifespan. One reason is that these healthy fats regulate blood vessel growth in our eyes. Adequate amounts of these healthy fats in the diets of pregnant women help ensure normal infant vision development.
Here is what omega-3s can do to prevent eye diseases:
Glaucoma – Glaucoma is caused by elevated intraocular pressure and vascular insufficiency. Research studies on cod liver oil demonstrate that omega-3 fatty acids play a protective role in addressing both of these glaucoma indicators.
Diabetic Retinopathy – Forty percent of diabetics will develop vision loss caused by diabetic retinopathy which can lead to blindness. Lab studies show that omega-3s prevent the abnormal blood vessel growth which is a hallmark of this disease.
Macular Degeneration – Eating fatty fish like salmon once a week can reduce your chances of developing vision-robbing macular degeneration by 50%.
Dry Eye Syndrome – A study of more than 32,000 women from the Women’s Health Study published in 2005 found those who consumed the most omega-3 fats from fish had a 17 percent lower risk of dry eye, compared with women who ate little or no seafood.
Now that you’re knowledgeable about the amazing vision-preserving qualities of omega-3, here’s a guide to the best food sources and some tempting recipes to try:
- Cold-water fish: salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, tuna
- Seeds and nuts: chia seeds, cod liver oil, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, walnuts
- Dark leafy greens: Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, broccoli
Try these healthy omega-3 rich recipes:
- Pan-Seared Salmon with Pear and Walnut Spinach Salad from Cooking Light
You can’t go wrong with an omega-3 recipe that includes salmon, spinach, and walnuts.
- Overnight Oats With Flax And Chia Seeds from Inquiring Chef
A popular grab-n-go healthy breakfast trend is overnight oats. This version contains eye-healthy chia and flaxseeds and is a good vegetarian option.
- Tuna and Apple Walnut Salad from Wellness Mama
This is a quick and easy recipe that can be prepared in a mason jar and taken to work for a vision-loving lunch.
Thank you to our wonderful guest blogger, Lorie Eber, Precision Nutrition Certified Professional / Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach / Wellcoaches Credentialed Wellness Coach / NASM Certified Personal Trainer / Gerontologist / Attorney / Author / Keynote Speaker. For more information about Lorie please visit Lorie Eber Wellness Coaching.