For many, many years, it’s become common knowledge among scientists (and the scientific community in general) that the growth and development of new cells, also known as neurogenesis, happens in the brain. However, thanks to new and emerging research, we now know that the eyes, which are technically extensions of our brains, also have that same capability to regenerate cells.
And so with that information at hand, how do we keep them healthy? And what can we do to prevent damage in the first place?
Of course, getting plenty of exercise and optimizing our gut health is already a given and can make a world of difference. But here are the things that you can really do:
- Steer clear of the standard American diet – Often referred to as the “Western diet,” it’s an established risk factor for age-related macular degeneration, which can then lead to hyperglycemia, which in itself, can cause a myriad of other problems. So rather than the American diet, opt for a diet with nutrient-dense foods, like the ancestral diet, which doesn’t have as much refined carbohydrates and added sugars.
- Get sufficient antioxidants – The part of the eye called retina has a high concentration of unsaturated fatty acids. This means that it’s susceptible to oxidative damage, and to help prevent this, you need to stack up on dietary antioxidants. This includes carotenoids, vitamin C and vitamin E, all of which can be found in fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid Vitamin A deficiency – As a critical component of the protein rhodopsin, lack of vitamin A can greatly affect our vision, leaving us more susceptible to both blindness and dry eye syndrome. This can be found in animal foods, such as seafood, grass-fed full-fat dairy products, and egg yolks, among others.
- Get lots of Vitamin D – Receptors for said vitamin can be found in various parts of our eyes, such as the retina and the retinal pigment epithelium. Without Vitamin D, these receptors wouldn’t be able to regulate inflammation and antioxidant systems.
- Stack up on omega-3 fatty acids – Omega-3 fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are important for healthy ocular function. However, too much of these can be harmful, and so it needs to be kept at a healthy level.
- Try Nutraceuticals – These are functional foods and supplements that when taken regularly can vastly help improve our eye health. These include billberries, ginkgo, coenzyme Q10, curcumin and alpha-lipoic acid.