Modern life has many of us concentrating on various types of electronic screens for large parts of the day. This is a very recent development in human history and there is ample evidence that our eyes are having difficulty adapting to the daily demands we put them under.
Eyestrain, dry and irritated eyes, difficulty making out fine detail and deteriorating vision are all common eyesight problems that are on the increase in recent decades.
While taking regular breaks from computer monitors and reducing the amount of time we spend staring at the illuminated screens is important, diet, and in particular juicing, may be able to help heal your eyes.
Let’s look at how regular juicing can play a part in improving your eyesight naturally and the best types of fruits and vegetables to juice for better vision.
The Importance of Xanthophylls
Juicing fresh fruit and vegetables provides a wealth of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for better eyesight. Pro-vitamin A carotenoids like alpha and beta-carotene are very important for your eyes, as is antioxidant vitamin C and minerals like zinc.
While deficiencies in these nutrients do happen, and many of us could use more of them for optimal eye health, a far more likely issue with vision problems is a lack of xanthophylls. Xanthophylls are class of carotenoid antioxidants, most commonly found in fruits and vegetables with yellow, orange and red colors, or in leafy greens where the green chlorophyll dominates. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the best known xanthophylls and the most important for your eyes.
Zeaxanthin and lutein are highly concentrated in the macula area of your eye that is responsible for perceiving fine details on a page or screen. They actually give your macula its distinctive yellow color and are vital for protecting it from UV and high-intensity blue light.
Blue light is a difficult band of the color spectrum for your eyes to deal with and regular overexposure is often associated with serious eye conditions like cataracts and age-related macula degeneration (ARMD).
Studies suggest that a diet high in lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce your risk of developing ARMD. They found that lutein supplementation for people who worked in front of computer screens all day improves visual function, contrast sensitivity and ‘lutein may have beneficial effects on the visual performance’. Lutein and zeaxanthin are also believed to help protect your eyes from other eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma as well.
From a dietary perspective there are certain fruits and vegetables that contain lutein and zeaxanthin and are very beneficial to juice if you value your vision. Here’s five of the best.
Dark green leafy vegetables are often considered a good source of lutein and kale is one of the most concentrated. Extremely high in vitamins, minerals and many other antioxidants to protect your eyes from free radical damage, raw kale is an excellent vegetable to juice for better vision and better health in general.
2. Beets with the Beet Greens
Deep red beet juice is full of nutrients that benefit your liver, another vital organ associated with eye health. Many important bodily function suffer when your liver is under strain so beets are a great vegetable to add to many different juicing recipes.
Interestingly, beet greens and stalks are considered an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin so are well worth including in juices for improving your vision.
3. Bell Peppers
These might seem like an unusual vegetable to juice, but they’re actually quite tasty. Bell peppers, and particularly the orange colored ones, are a great source of zeaxanthin for juicing. Red and yellow peppers should also be good if you can’t find orange.
4. Citrus Fruits
Vitamin C, another important antioxidant for eye health, is available in citrus fruits like orange, grapefruit, pomelo, and lemon. Vitamin C is an important factor in forming and maintaining connective tissue, like collagen, found in the cornea of the eye.
It also supports the delicate blood vessels in the capillaries of the retina. Studies suggest that vitamin C may protect the eyes from developing cataracts, and from vision loss due to macular degeneration.
They are rich in beta-carotene, a pigment that can help improve and maintain eyesight.
According to the Scientific American, “The body uses beta-carotene to make vitamin A which helps the eye convert light into a signal that can be transmitted to the brain, allowing people to see under conditions of low light.” Vitamin A also supports cornea health.
Juicing recipes like this are a great way to get more lutein, zeaxanthin and other eye nutrients into your diet for healthy vision. Also try and eat more yellow, red and orange fruits and vegetables along with more leafy greens to strengthen up your antioxidant defences.
It’s beneficial to have some healthy fats around the same time as you have your juice since xanthophylls and other antioxidants like alpha and beta-carotene are fat-soluble. This means they require some fatty acids to be present for optimal absorption.
This post originally appeared on Health Ambition.