You are what you eat, as the old saying goes. You probably grew up being told to take your vitamins every morning because they were good for you. But, once you take them, how do you know what they’re really doing?
These days, we have more sources of information than ever. But, sorting through it often requires more time and patience than most of us can afford. So, we have put together a few basic rules to help guide you when it comes to feeding your eyes. Every day can be a visual feast.
Tips to Make Sure Your Eye Vitamins Are Working
1: The key to vitamin supplements is not the amount you take, but the amount your body absorbs.
Think of it this way: you can change the oil in your car regularly, but if you have a leak, you’re defeating the purpose.
So it goes with supplements. For instance, as with most nutrients, minerals must travel to the liver before becoming available to the body. Fiber binds to minerals and other compounds and can interfere with the absorption process.
So, if you’re taking your vitamins and minerals at the same time as you take your fiber, the fiber will bind to the vitamins and minerals. Thus, causing limited absorption and decreasing the nutritional benefits. Many foods contain fiber, even foods that are otherwise good for your vision. If you’re taking a supplement in the mornings, make sure you have a low fiber breakfast with it.
2: Take most supplements with food.
There are a few specific supplements that should be taken on an empty stomach: herbal remedies or probiotics, iron, and calcium to name a few. If you take a calcium supplement, it is suggested that you take it at night. Calcium is better at building bone strength and mass while you are sleeping. Perhaps that’s where the warm cup of milk to help us to sleep came from?
But, most vitamins do best when taken with a meal. For instance, vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble. This means there needs to be some fat floating around for digestion to happen at all.
Fats (so long as they’re the good kind, like the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and sesame seeds) are fundamental for properly functioning cells. They’re also necessary for your nerves, lungs, eyes, and other organs, including your brain, heart, and immune system.
Among other reasons, that’s because of the role they play in nutrient digestion. Fats slow digestion down, giving your body more time to absorb nutrients.
For once, a slower digestion can work in your favor. The more time your body has to absorb the vitamins and minerals, the more benefits you receive from them. After all, you’re taking the supplement to ensure your eyes are healthy. You want to get as much benefit from the supplement as possible.
3: Drink water to maximize nutritional intake.
Drinking water on a steady basis throughout the day helps your body metabolize vitamins and nutrients more efficiently. However, your body can only absorb four to six ounces of water at a time. So, in order to hydrate properly, drink four to six ounces of water at a time, many times throughout the day.
This is one common mistake that people make when adding water to their routine. Drinking too much water at one time just means you’ll need to make another trip to the bathroom.
And remember, any beverage containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and soda, can inhibit the absorption of vitamins and minerals and increase their excretion from the body. This doesn’t mean that you must give up the antioxidants in green tea. Just make sure that you drink a caffeine-free version of it to ensure the eye vitamins it contains are working.
4: You can’t go wrong with sweet potatoes, kale, and spinach.
Let’s say you’re on a three-minute dash through the grocery store and you’re wondering what to buy. Spinach, kale, and sweet potatoes will boost your vision on a budget. You can quickly steam all three in the microwave or on the stove. Simple toss them with pasta or rice, or serve them alongside some chicken for a delicious meal packed with nutrients. You’ll get beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin A, and more.
Quick snacks that are easy to take to work and school include trail mixes that have seeds, nuts, and dried fruits in them. Many of these contain essential vitamins and minerals that will help your eyes. Try spinach leaves instead of lettuce in your tossed salad and reap the benefits. Most leafy greens contain lutein and zeaxanthin, both excellent for your vision.
Over time, you’ll see an improvement in eye health and know that your eye vitamins are working properly. Especially when you follow the guidelines we’ve listed above, you’re bound to see the effects.
This post originally appeared on All About Vision.