10 Superfoods For Super Eyes: Enhance Your Defence System
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Monsoon is that time of the year when most people suffer from a multitude of illnesses. And while you may know about the waterborne and foodborne diseases that are associated with food consumption, you should know that your eyes are also susceptible to illnesses like conjunctivitis, red eye and other infections. Eyes are sensitive organs, and monsoon season can have quite a lot of impact on them. Here’s what you should know.  

Monsoon brings higher humidity levels, creating a favorable environment for the growth and proliferation of bacteria and fungi. These microorganisms can cause eye infections, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) and keratitis. The increased moisture in the air during monsoon can lead to the release of pollens and other allergens, triggering allergic reactions in some individuals. Allergic conjunctivitis is a common eye condition during this season, characterized by red, itchy, and watery eyes. 

Monsoon storms can bring strong winds, carrying dust and debris that may irritate the eyes and lead to conditions like dry eyes or foreign body sensation. Monsoon weather can make contact lens wearers more susceptible to eye infections, as the lenses may trap bacteria and debris more easily in humid conditions. Given all these risks, it is important to focus on eye health during monsoon season and give your immune system a boost to fortify the eye defence system. 

Here are some superfoods you can add to your diet to boost your immunity and enhance your eye defence system. 

Video Credit: YouTube/Khin's Kitchen

1. Eggs: Eggs are a nutrient-rich food that provides a host of essential nutrients for overall health, including eye health. They are particularly valuable for the eyes due to their high content of lutein and zeaxanthin, two potent antioxidants that accumulate in the retina and lens of the eyes. These antioxidants help protect the eyes from harmful light and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss in older adults. Lutein and zeaxanthin also play a crucial role in filtering blue light, which can cause damage to the retina over time. Additionally, eggs contain vitamin A, a key component of the visual pigment rhodopsin. 

2. Papaya: Papaya is a rich source of vitamin C, providing more than the recommended daily intake in just one serving. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that plays a vital role in maintaining healthy blood vessels in the eyes and may help reduce the risk of cataracts, a clouding of the eye's lens that can impair vision. Additionally, papaya is abundant in beta-carotene, a carotenoid that the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for good vision, especially in low-light conditions, and it helps protect the surface of the eye, keeping it moist and preventing infections.  

3. Broccoli: Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that is widely recognized for its numerous health benefits, and its positive impact on eye health is no exception. This green powerhouse is rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps support the health of blood vessels in the eyes and may decrease the risk of developing cataracts. Additionally, broccoli is an excellent source of two essential carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are found in the retina and lens of the eyes, where they act as a natural sunblock, protecting delicate eye tissues from harmful light and oxidative damage.  

4. Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are a delicious and nutritious root vegetable known for their vibrant orange color and sweet flavor. They are a valuable addition to any diet, particularly for supporting eye health. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, a crucial nutrient for maintaining healthy vision. In the body, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, which is then transported to the retina, where it is used to produce visual pigments that allow us to see in dim light. Adequate vitamin A levels are essential for preventing night blindness and maintaining clear vision. 

5. Squash: Squash is abundant in beta-carotene, a carotenoid that the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy vision, particularly in dim light conditions. It also helps protect the eyes' surface, keeping them moist and reducing the risk of infections. Additionally, the antioxidant properties of beta-carotene help combat free radicals, which can damage eye cells and contribute to age-related vision issues. Consuming squash regularly can support the body's production of vitamin A and promote eye wellness, making it a valuable part of an eye-healthy diet. 

6. Sunflower Seeds: Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect eye tissues from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin E is especially crucial for maintaining the integrity of cell membranes in the eyes, safeguarding them from external stressors. Additionally, sunflower seeds contain zinc, a mineral that plays a role in the transportation of vitamin A from the liver to the retina, where it is used to produce visual pigments. Adequate zinc levels are necessary for good night vision and overall visual function. By including sunflower seeds in your diet, you can boost your intake of vitamin E and zinc, supporting eye defense and promoting better eye health. 

7. Tuna: Tuna, a popular fatty fish, offers an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for overall health, including eye health. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the eyes, potentially benefiting conditions like dry eye syndrome. Moreover, the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a major structural component of the retina, essential for maintaining optimal visual function. Studies have suggested that regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other eye-related issues.  

8. Tomatoes: Tomatoes, with their vibrant red color, are an excellent source of lycopene, a potent antioxidant known for being particularly valuable for eye health, as it helps protect the eyes from oxidative stress caused by harmful light and environmental factors. By neutralizing free radicals, lycopene supports the eyes' delicate structures and may reduce the risk of age-related vision issues. Additionally, tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, another antioxidant that plays a key role in maintaining healthy blood vessels in the eyes. Including tomatoes in your diet can provide an array of eye-friendly nutrients that contribute to a robust eye defense system and support overall visual well-being. 

9. Green Tea: Green tea contains catechins, a group of antioxidants that have been associated with various health benefits, including eye health. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the most abundant catechin in green tea, has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help protect the eyes from inflammation and oxidative damage. Green tea's potential to improve blood flow and reduce oxidative stress is also beneficial for the eyes, as it supports healthy blood vessels and overall ocular well-being. Including green tea in your diet can be a flavorful way to boost your antioxidant intake and promote better eye defence. 

10. Mangoes: Mangoes, with their sweet and juicy flesh, are not only a delightful tropical fruit but also a nutritional powerhouse for eye health. They are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, which are essential for maintaining clear vision, especially in low-light conditions. Vitamin A supports the eyes' surface, keeping them moist and resistant to infections. Moreover, beta-carotene acts as a powerful antioxidant that protects the eyes from oxidative stress and damage caused by harmful light. Additionally, mangoes are a good source of vitamin C, which further supports the health of blood vessels in the eyes and may reduce the risk of cataracts.