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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

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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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