Posted by: Carolinas Center for Sight in Eye Health
It’s long been communicated that we need to eat a healthy and balanced diet for overall health and wellness, however, this messaging is often linked to the avoidance of serious medical concerns. By eating well, we can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and more, but what about some of the more specific areas of our bodies that benefit from certain foods?
You’ve likely heard that it’s wise to eat omega-3s for ocular health, but do you know specifically what foods contain this supplement and how it can actually help your eyes? We’re going to dive right into the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for better eyesight!
What Are Omega-3s?
Without getting too technical, an omega-3 fatty acid is considered a “healthy” fat and is differentiated from other types of fats due to its chemical structure. Unlike omega-6s, which are often unhealthy in nature, omega-3s provide the body with the building blocks needed to support certain aspects of your health including regulating your heart rate, blood pressure, and more.
Our bodies are able to produce a wide range of vitamins and minerals naturally, but we cannot make omega-3 fatty acids on our own. That means to optimize their health benefits, we need to ensure that our diets are incorporating specific omega-3 rich foods as often as possible. Not only do medical experts recommend working this typeof nutrient into your diet, but it’s also helpful to be mindful around limiting your intake of omega-6s.
How Your Eyes Benefit
A variety of studies have been conducted around the impacts of increased omega-3 fatty acid consumption and the results are very promising. Adults who consume at least one to two servings of omega-3s each week significantly reduce their risk of developing macular degeneration, a condition that can lead to permanent vision loss. It’s speculated that these healthy fats may also assist in reducing one’s risk of glaucoma as omega-3s can help aid in proper intraocular drainage.
Even more benefits have been discovered in studies that focus on dry eyes, a condition that plagues many Americans. The increased use of digital devices in our everyday lives might be a contributing factor, but simply incorporating two servings of omega-3 rich foods into your weekly diet can reduce your risk of these unwanted symptoms.
Your Best Food Bets
It’s possible that you’re already consuming omega-3 fatty acids on a regular basis as they are found in many delicious foods. The most common option is to eat salmon or other cold-water fish including tuna, sardines, or herring. Omega-3s can also be found in dark leafy greens like kale as well as in walnuts, flaxseeds, and oysters.
You don’t have to go overboard and suddenly modify your entire diet, but the careful balance of increasing your omega-3 consumption while simultaneously cutting out processed and fatty foods can lead to a lifetime of better eyesight and increased ocular health. If you’re interested in learning about more ways to support your eyes through dietary means, talk with your ophthalmologist about other healthy foods to incorporate into your diet.