(BPT) - Popeye trumps Bugs Bunny - at least for your eyes. An overwhelming majority of Americans – 89 percent – identify carrots as the best food to eat to ensure healthy eyes but far fewer, 32 percent, know that spinach can help support their vision too, according to a survey by Kelton/DSM Nutritional Products.
Move over carrots and beta-carotene, there are other foods and nutrients that appeal to eye health. Dr. Michael Roizen, author and co-founder of RealAge.com, provides a brief tutorial on the best nutrients for eye health.
Lutein and zeaxanthin – The same survey found that less than half of Americans (41 percent) are familiar with lutein and only 6 percent of Americans are familiar with the nutrient zeaxanthin. Of the 600 known carotenoids, these are the only two that are found in the retina of the eye.
Eat dark leafy greens (like spinach) and eggs and you’re on your way to incorporating lutein and zeaxanthin into your daily diet. While there is no established recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for lutein and zeaxanthin, the American Optometric Association recommends 10 mg per day of lutein and 2 mg per day of zeaxanthin.
The recently published AREDS 2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2) was launched to determine whether a combination of key nutrients – including vitamins C and E, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and omega-3s – can further reduce the risk of progression from the common dry macular degeneration to advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Secondary analysis showed that the group receiving lutein and zeaxanthin versus those not taking lutein and zeaxanthin, had a 9 percent risk reduction for progression to advanced AMD.
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