As we age, certain medical conditions become more common. For most of us, some level of vision loss is unavoidable. Our eyes simply “wear out”, resulting in detached retinas or even glaucoma. However, like many conditions we associate with aging, there are some vision problems that can be proactively avoided or delayed with good habits and changes in diet. In fact, experts have identified specific vitamins and minerals which are known to help to protect eye health at all stages of life. However, as we age, we may need to consume more of these dietary staples to maintain healthy eyes.
The Link Between Diet and Eye Health
Eating the right food is an easy and delicious way to keep us healthy. For those who have parents in assisted living or memory care, they may want to speak with the administration about adding these things to their loved ones diet – or shopping for them to supplement the meals they are receiving. Here are some foods you can provide to your loved one to promote healthier, longer lasting vision.
- Vitamin C: Found in abundance in strawberries, citrus fruits, and red peppers, Vitamin C is one of your more powerful natural allies when it comes to eye health. Vitamin C is thought to guard against cataracts and slow the process of degeneration due to aging.
- Beta-carotene: Your mom was right – carrots are a powerhouse when it comes to eye health. The reason is the high concentrations of beta carotene and vitamin C, which both fight for your vision. Other sources of these two age-fighters include sweet potatoes, yellow pepper, cantaloupe, apricots, and pumpkin.
- Omaga-3 fats: While often associated with heart health, omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial for the eyes. While the best sources of these fats may be difficult to incorporate into a daily diet – mackeral, tuna, salmon and sardines – seniors can also benefit from nuts and seeds. Here’s a hint – make a batch of tuna salad to keep in your loved one’s refrigerator. this is easy to snack on, and will give them added omega-3 fatty acids with every bite.
- Berries and Grapes: The anthocyanins which are found in berries, currents and red grapes provide powerful antioxidant protection against UV damage, cataracts and glaucoma. Blackberries and blueberries in particular provide abundant amounts of anthocyanins, and are an easy go-to snack for seniors on their own.
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin: While you might wonder where you can find these antioxidants, the eye health boosters can be found in leafy greens such as spinach and kale, as well as eggs, kiwi, grapes, squash, and zucchini. Adding them to soups and salads is an easy way to increase your intake. In fact, all of those ingredients combined would make a delicious salad, easy to gain a bowlful of nutrients.
Overall Nutrition for Senior Citizens
A well-balanced diet plays an essential role in healthy living and healthy aging. The food we ingest plays such a vital role, that it can be the difference between health and illness. If your senior loved one lives at home, they may not be getting optimal nutrition on a daily basis. Staying strong and healthy can help to guard against falls, depression, and a host of other health problems.
If you are local and can shop for your loved one, you can ensure that they get the nutrition they need. If not, consider a grocery delivery service. If they are in assisted living or memory care, speak with the facility about any special diet they may require.
A Banyan Residence provides compassionate, quality assisted living and memory care options to the Venice, Florida community.