How many of us have heard this before: “Eat your carrots! They’re good for your eyes…”
Well, your mother wouldn’t steer you wrong. The old dinner table refrain is true to a certain extent. If you suddenly consume lots of carrots (those raw crunchy sticks are great with dip!), you won’t be able to see through walls, Superman-style, but you will take in nutrients that are great for your vision. Carrots contain beta-carotene, a red-orange pigment and antioxidant the body converts into vitamin A, which is a key vitamin for good vision, especially in low light.
But there’s good news if you’re not a fan of carrots – an alcoholic beverage will do the trick, according to health experts in the United States and Australia. Yes there’s another reason to enjoy cocktail hour, beyond the socializing and relaxation. We’ll drink to that!
The number of visually impaired around the world is expected to increase significantly over the next five years. In the U.S. alone, health experts predict the number will climb to 4 million by 2020. So the race is on to find new methods of prevention.
A study published in Opthalmology indicates that occasional drinkers are 49 percent less likely to develop eye problems than non-drinkers. An occasional drinker is defined as someone who drinks from time to time or on special occasions. This is not someone who consumes alcohol frequently. Your eyes won’t benefit from boozing it up after 5 p.m.
Research suggests that red wine is the best bet for your eye health, whether a full-bodied Chianti or a bold and fruity Shiraz is your red of choice. A substance in the skin of red grapes can help prevent the deterioration of eye muscles and the growth of blood vessels in the eye that can cause macular degeneration, which is among the leading causes of blindness.
Moderation is the operative word when it comes to alcohol. Don’t go overboard for the sake of your vision and undermine the positive effects.
The study researchers also looked at the impact of physical fitness on eye health. They analyzed information collected from about 5,000 adults between the ages of 43 and 84. People who exercised regularly were 58 percent less likely to develop vision impairment compared to those who were inactive. Exercise also has been linked to preventing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. One more excellent motivator to get you off the couch!
While learning new prevention methods is important, our eyes can be affected by underlying health problems, such as diabetes or auto-immune issues. So a good first step in taking care of your eyes is making sure you understand your overall health. That can make it easier for you and your doctor to focus (no pun intended) on what is going on with your eyes.