Christmas is done and dusted for another year and many of us are looking to shift a little of that holiday weight, but let's not forget that many of the foods we eat can also help our eyes and our ears. To celebrate Veganuary we're looking at some vegan-friendly choices which are packed full of antioxidants to boost eye and ear health.
What's on the menu...
People say all the time that carrots help you see in the dark. There's some truth to this, because they're very rich in retinol (vitamin A) in the form of beta carotene. This is a red-orange pigment which is good for vision and eye health. It also helps strengthen your immune system.
Omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in eye development for children, and for maintaining healthy vision in adulthood too. Also, there are new studies that show increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids have a direct effect on reducing hearing loss. Plant-based sources are flaxseeds, walnuts, seaweed, chia seeds, hemp seeds and algae. Some leafy green vegetables also contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids!
Spinach, kale, broccoli and other collard greens contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These plant-pigments are fantastic at maintaining good eye health. Not only that, they are very effective in preventing eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Foods Rich in Magnesium
Your ears will love foods rich in magnesium, it helps protect the hair cells in the inner ear when exposed to loud noises and also helps maintain nerve function. Blood flow is improved too. Dark chocolate, brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, avocados, mushrooms, spinach, kale and bananas are all magnesium-rich foods. In the corneas, magnesium is seen to be vital in preventing dry eye disease and infection too.
Foods rich in zinc, vitamin E, and niacin can help to improve eye health too. Some examples are brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, whole oats and whole-wheat bread. They have a low glycemic index and they're a fantastic alternative for foods with refined carbohydrates (such as white bread, white flour, white rice, pastries, snacks and pasta).
Foods Rich in Folate
Folate (folic acid) can really help increase circulation throughout the body which in-turn helps keep the hair cells of the inner ear healthy. All of this will contribute to preventing hearing loss. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, peas, kale, spinach, chickpeas, lemons, melons and sunflower seeds are all good sources of folate.
Almost every kind of bean can help to regulate eye health and sight. They're a fantastic source of zinc and also contain bioflavonoids which are complex compounds that help utilise the level of vitamin C in your body. The risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration is reduced and your retinas will be protected!
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