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5 Foods To Boost Your Eye Health

5 Foods To Boost Your Eye Health

Our eyesight is precious. The bad news is that 75% of American adults need eyeglasses of one kind or another. Cataracts are becoming almost endemic and a whopping $7 billion is spent on these operations every year in the US. I live in Europe but my eye specialist told me that the rise in the number of cataracts in my area was disconcerting. There is no plausible explanation as yet. But the good news is that diet and other healthy lifestyle habits can help to maintain optimal eye health

The AREDS (Age Related Eye-Disease Study) research shows that by taking either a multivitamin or eating a healthy diet, the risk of developing vision loss problems was reduced by 25%. These studies involved thousands of people and were conducted among the 55-80 age group over a period of several years.

Here are the five foods you should be eating to keep your vision laser sharp and youthful.

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“My eyes are my favorite part of me – not for how they look, but for how they see.” – Chris Sebastian.

1. Carrots and squash

Carotenoids are a plentiful nutrient (usually orange or yellow) in many fruit and vegetables of the same color. We can think of carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, sweet red peppers, cantaloupe and dried apricots.

These carotenoids contain lutein which protects the macula (part of the retina) from damage caused by blue light and ultra violet light. The American Optometric Association says that we need up to 10 mg of lutein every day although there is no official RDA amount. It is better not to overcook these vegetables as this can decrease their carotenoid content. The one exception is the carrot which can be cooked well to get the maximum benefit.

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2. Spinach and kale

Spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables not only contain carotenoids but also zeaxanthin. This, together with the lutein helps to keep the macula in top shape. Experts say that it is sufficient to eat about 10 ounces of frozen spinach or kale a week to get enough of these essential nutrients. Spinach is so rich in vitamins and minerals that it may also help to prevent cancer.

3. Almonds

One of the most effective vitamins in protecting your eyes is vitamin E. This is found in great quantities in nuts, especially almonds. Well worth ramping up your intake of these. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which can prevent free radicals from damaging cells.

The AREDS study quoted above also mentions vitamin E as being on the essential vitamins list to help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. It is also worth remembering that the latter condition is the main cause of blindness for people over the age of 55 in the western world. Figures for this disease are likely to triple by the year 2025.

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4. Oranges and grapefruit

Any fruits which are rich in vitamin C can also help to maintain optimum vision. Most fruits contain vitamin C so you have a wide choice. One cup of pure orange juice can give you 124 milligrams of vitamin C. If you cannot find oranges easily, sweet red peppers contain three times the amount of vitamin C so they are an even better substitute!

One study has demonstrated that with increased intake of vitamin C together with the E vitamin groups and other nutrients, patients were less likely to suffer from eyesight problems.

5. Omega 3 foods

We hear a lot about all the omega 3 foods such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, walnuts and canola oil. As you cannot manufacture your own supplies of these omega 3 fatty acids, the only alternative is to get them from food or through supplements.

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What is the function of omega 3 with regard to eye health? Research mentioned by the Universty of Maryland Medical Center shows results from an interesting study. They gave a questionnaire to 3,000 people who were over 49. The data showed that those ate more fish with omega 3 were less likely to have problems with eyesight decline such as cataracts or macular degeneration.

The next time you plan a meal, keep your eyesight in mind.

“Whatever you may look like, marry a man your own age – as your beauty fades, so will his eyesight.”- Phyllis Diller.

Featured photo credit: Vision of Eyechart With Glasses/Ken Teegardin via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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