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    Worried about your child's eyesight? Here are the best foods for healthy eyes in kids

    Divya Karthik Divya Karthik 4 Mins Read

    Divya Karthik Divya Karthik

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    Worried that excessive screen time is affecting your child's eyes? Why not introduce foods which are good for eyesight. Here's a list of foods that are essential for healthy eyesight

    Toddler to Pre-teen
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    Worried about your child's eyesight? Here are the best foods for healthy eyes in kids

    Good sources of vitamin E:

    • almonds
    • peanuts
    • corn oil
    • sunflower seeds

    Sources of vitamin C are:

    • oranges
    • grapefruit
    • tangerines
    • green pepper
    • tomatoes

    Source of lutein and zeaxanthin are:

    • dark green leafy vegetables
    • broccoli
    • corn
    • peas
    • tangerines

    Our eyes are our windows to the world. Yet, we start abusing them from a very early age by indulging in activities such as reading in low light or rubbing them to get relief from irritation.

    Nutritional deficiencies also play a role in causing a deterioration in eye health by giving rise to diseases such as xerophthalmia (Vitamin A deficiency) and nutritional optic neuropathy. In fact, poor nutrition is a leading cause of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

    Taking a cue from this, we can understand that good nutrition from childhood can help in preventing and retarding the progression of several eye diseases. It is recommended that an individual should take five servings of fruits and vegetables, and two servings of nuts every day along with fish at least two days a week for healthy eyes.

    Vitamin A: The most important vitamin for eyesight

    Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyesight. It is also essential for immunity and the maintenance of mucous membranes. Deficiency of this vitamin leads to poor eyesight.

    Vitamin A deficiency can occur due to the following three reasons:

    • Reduced intake of foods rich in vitamin A
    • Poor intestinal absorption of vitamin A, usually because of diarrhea
    • Increased need for vitamin A during infections such as measles, herpes simplex and malaria
    Good sources of vitamin A:
    • Cheese
    • Eggs
    • Liver
    • Milk
    • Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Peppers
    • Colored fruits like papaya, mango and carrots, which contain beta carotene, a source of vitamin A.

    Cataract

    A cataract is the clouding of the lens, which is an important part of the eye. The lens helps to bend light rays and focus them on the retina.

    Non-modifiable risk factors to the lens are:

    • increasing age
    • family history
    • gender

    Modifiable risk factors are:

    • smoking
    • exposure to sunlight
    • diseases such as diabetes
    • poor nutrition

    Higher intake of carbohydrates and higher dietary glycemic index (dGI) are associated with increased incidence of cataracts.

    Studies have shown that antioxidants have a significant role in preventing and slowing down the progression of cataracts. These include vitamins C, E, carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Individuals with a high intake of lutein and zeaxanthin have a significantly lower risk of developing cataracts. Lutein and zeaxanthin are pigments found within the lens, retina and macula. They help to protect the eyes from the effects of ultraviolet radiation.

    Good sources of vitamin E:
    • Almonds
    • Peanuts
    • Sunflower seeds

    Good sources of vitamin C:

    • Oranges
    • Lemons
    • Gooseberry or Indian amla
    • Green pepper
    • Tomatoes

    Good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin:

    • Dark green leafy vegetables
    • corn
    • peas

    Dry eyes

    Dry eye is a common condition. It occurs when the eyes fail to produce the adequate amount of tears required for lubricating and keeping the eyes moist. Clinical trials have shown that omega 3, a group of fatty acids that we get from our diet, can have a positive effect on dry eye symptoms when taken in certain quantities. Omega 3 is also helpful in the treatment of dry eyes and the prevention of cataracts.

    Omega 3 can be obtained by consuming oily fish such as anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, herring and fresh tuna. The National Health Service recommends that we eat at least two portions of fish a week, including one of oily fish. Those who do not eat fish can consume flaxseed and soy products such as tofu, walnuts and eggs.

    It is also important to cut down on added sugar in the diet. Added sugar is found in items such as cakes, fizzy drinks, chocolate and other sweet foods such as pastry and jam. There can also be hidden sugar added to some pre-prepared savory foods such as pasta sauce and baked beans. However, there is no need to cut down on natural sugars found in foods like fruit and milk.

    In a nutshell, a healthy diet for the eyes should include:

    Vitamin A: Cod liver oil, liver, cheese, cheese, carrots, sweet potatoes

    Lutein and zeaxanthin: Dark green vegetables, egg yolk, corn, mango, spinach, lettuce

    Vitamin C: Oranges, strawberries, all citrus fruits, tomatoes, cherries, grapes

    Vitamin E: Peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds

    Selenium (an antioxidant): Yeast, seafood

    Zinc: Oysters, wheat, nuts

    Omega 3 Fatty acids: Cold-water fish (salmon, mackerel, trout)

    Along with a healthy diet, regular eye checkups for the detection of problems is also a must. Also, encourage your child to do regular eye exercises.

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