A variety of nutrients for eye health

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Having a good eating habit can be of great benefit to your long and healthy lifetime. Good nutrition not only contributes to healthy body but also to your confidence. A lot of studies show that starting good habits when you are young plays a vital role in maintaining healthy vision and may reduce risks of certain eye problems such as cataracts. For a good vision, you should pay attention to key vitamins and nutrients which are very important to keeping your eyes healthy.

Vitamin A plays a vital role in bone growth and can make you far from infection. For eye health, it can also lower your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration and slow vision loss which may be caused by retinitis pigmentosa. Foods that are rich in vitamin A include milk, eggs, beef, chicken liver and cod liver oil. But you should remember that too much vitamin A can be harmful, bringing symptoms such as headaches, skin changes and joint pain. Normally, never take more than 2,800 micrograms (9,333 IU) per day. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 900 micrograms (mg) for boys and 700 mg for girls.

Vitamin C, which is abundant in many fruits and vegetables, can help prevent some cancers and protect you from heart disease. It is also very important for your eyes, reducing your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Good dietary sources of vitamin C include oranges, red and green bell peppers, grapefruit, strawberries and so on. The RDA is 75 mg for boys and 65 mg for girls. If you smoke, more vitamin C is needed.

Vitamin E helps your body produce red blood cells and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. Some studies show that vitamin E can help maintain good eyesight. Vitamin E can be found in foods including sunflower seeds, peanut butter, olive oil and whole grains. The RDA for vitamin E is 15 mg each day.

Carotenoids (also called phytonutrients) are also important nutrients for your eyes and vision. As there are hundreds of carotenoids, the most common ones include alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene. The former three ones are also called pro-vitamin A carotenoids because they will be converted to vitamin A later. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays and high-energy visible light (HEV) could increase your risk of macular degeneration and damage the retina. In this case, enough lutein and zeaxanthin can help. Good dietary sources of them include kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce and some vegetables including broccoli, squash, and bell peppers and so on. Lycopene is another important carotenoid for eye health. It also lowers the risk for a number of cancers, such as lung cancer. Foods that are rich in lycopene include pink grapefruit, apricots, and tomato and so on.

Also called flavonoids, bioflavonoids can reduce inflammation and help your body get rid of potentially toxic and cancer-causing chemicals. They can be found in many of the same fruits and vegetables which contain plentiful vitamin C.

Since good eating habits are so important, you should make sure you have the right amount of vitamins and nutrients. Excess nutrition or deficiency of vitamin can be harmful. For example, a deficiency of vitamin A may cause severe dry eyes and night vision problems.