We often make connections between diet and cardiovascular disease or obesity but we often forget that eye sight and vision loss is also linked to health.
Veganuary is almost over, after spending most of this month in a lockdown were you able to try out a vegan lifestyle?
So how much does a vegan diet make a difference to your eyes?
IS BECOMING A VEGAN A MISSED STEAK?
Is meat important to your diet? Probably not. Maybe, the Jury’s still out on this one. As with everything, its great in small quantities but as long as you are getting your protein from somewhere it doesn't have to be meat. But does eating meat have an affect on your eyesight?
There isn't any definitive proof that eating meat is damaging/ harmful to your eyesight. However, the general consensus by researchers and nutritionists is that we should not be consuming meat in the quantities we are. So maybe the vegan and vegetarians are on to something here.
Research (conducted by Dr Elaine E-W.T Chong from the Centre for Eye research Australia) that suggest that eating red meat at least 10 times a week makes people 50% more likely to develop Macular Degeneration than those who eat it less than five times. However, there were only a few participants in this study and it did ignore external factors such as age history and lifestyle.
On the other hand most researchers and nutritionists agree that animal products such as dairy, eggs etc aren't bad for you. But when you exclude these from your diet and can’t rely on food like pasta bread etc, instead you will substitute them with other fruits and veg which in turn can make you healthier and have a better affect on your eye sight.
THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE - FRIED, PROCESSED AND HIGH IN SUGAR
Its not that you cannot get vegan foods that have these things its just that its more unlikely. We have a burgeoning vegan industry that’s focus is on health so even if you are getting vegan ready meals or takeout they are usually less processed etc but for most of us we are making our vegan meals from scratch at home from great ingredients. But make sure you keep aware.
All of the fun stuff is the worst thing…you already new this but did you know that a study in the British Journal of Ophthalmology suggested that processed meat, fried foods and sugar can increase the risk of macular degeneration. Having these as a treat is fine as along as they are not part of your regular balanced diet.
So what should you eat?
SUPERFOODS FOR SUPER-SIGHT
KALE- this is by far the best food in order to help prevent cataracts. Cataracts occurs gradually with age when the lens in your eye becomes cloudy and when the proteins in your eye oxidise and denatures. Kale is full of lutein and zeaxanthin these antioxidants are great for help fight the build up of free radicals.
ALMONDS - commonly referred to as a nut however its actually a seed. It contains low saturated and high unsaturated fatty acids, proteins, fiber, Vitamin E and antioxidants. A daily serving of almonds could have a benefit of regulating cholesterol levels, blood sugar and weight. For your eyes Vitamin E is another great anti-oxident to keep your body free of free radicals that can deteriorate your macula or contribute to macular degeneration.
ORANGES - I’m sure we all know that like many citrus fruits, oranges contain Vitamin C. This is another antioxidant great for lowering your blood pressure. But for you eyes the most important nutrient in oranges is Beta-Carotene (you can also find these in Carrots and sweet potatoes - basically anything orange coloured), which your body then turns into Vitamin A. Vitamin A supports the mucous membranes (your tear film) of the eye from viruses, infections, and inflammation. Just think of how many times a day you touch your eyes and you’ll realise how much you need this.
Please note we have excluded any anecdotes about a veganism curing eye conditions- anecdotes are not facts.