Macular Health

Foods Rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin for Macular Health

"Low consumption of carotenoids, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin - both found in green leafy vegetables, is also associated with an increased risk of AMD," writes Lisa Hark, PhD, RD and Director of the Wills Eye Hospital Department of Research.

Surprisingly, the retina has the highest rate of metabolism and oxygen consumption in the body - which explains why it is so important to supply the retina with necessary nutrients everyday so it can function at its best. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the two carotenoids that make up the macular pigment. The thicker the macular pigment the more protection to our eyes.

We can reduce our oxidative stress to the retina by including foods rich in these two antioxidants. Find out how to increase your intake of these important vision protecting carotenoids here:

How To Increase Your Intake of Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Macular Health and Inflammation

The recent February issue of AMA Ophthalmology in the article C-Reactive Protein and the Incidence of Macular Degeneration reported that "this study adds to the evidence that elevated levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) predict future risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD)."

hsCRP is an inflammatory marker and an elevated CRP is an indicator of systemic inflammation.

This isn't really surprising news, since many ophthalmologists such as Dr. Michael Samuel and Dr. Steven Pratt write about the role of inflammation, C-Reactive protein and AMD.

Dr. Pratt states in his book Superfoods Healthstyle, "Elevated C-reactive protein has been shown to be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and age-related macular degeneration..."

Dr. Samuel the author of Macular Degeneration: A Complete Guide for Patients and Their Families, writes that "modern research into AMD has found that inflammation plays a clear role in the development of the dry form of this disease."

If inflammation and high levels of hsCRP indicate a high risk of developing AMD you may wonder if anything be done to lower one's hsCRP and possibly one's risk of developing AMD? Find out more here:

Macular Health and DHA

Did you know that the retina has high concentrations of DHA - an essential fatty acid? This fatty acid is important for cell membrane structure. However the body cannot produce it, so one must get it from diet or supplements.

Dr. Steven Pratt, an ophthalmologist with a family history of AMD and the author of SuperHealth: 6 Simple Steps, 6 Easy Weeks, 1 Longer, Healthier Life recommends 3 to 4 ounces of wild salmon two to four times a week.

Currently there are 6 active clinical trials looking at the role of omega-3's in macular diseases. Foods high in omega-3s are also considered to be anti-inflammatory while many other foods high in unhealthy fats are considered pro-inflammatory.

Find out the difference between farm raised and wild caught salmon, which wild caught salmon contains the highest amount of these essential fatty acids and what other important nutrients are found in these cold water fish.

Foods High In Omega 3

Glucose, Glycemic Index, and Macular Health

Many people are aware of the damage diabetics have to their eyes due to poorly controlled blood sugar levels. They are at higher risk for retinal diseases, cataracts and glaucoma.

If you don't have diabetes or problems with your blood sugar levels, that doesn't mean your eyes are not suffering from the damage caused by high blood glucose.

Ever hear of AGEs? It stands for advanced glycation end products. They are the by product of high blood sugar.

While they are much more prevalent in diabetics, they still form and do their damage in those who don't have diabetes. AGEs are linked to the aging process and not only contribute to heart disease and dementia but to cataracts and to the development of retinal diseases.

We can influence the formation of AGEs by preventing our blood sugar levels from spiking. That's why it's important to include foods with a low glycemic index (GI) - foods that don't spike blood sugar - and reduce the amount of foods with a high glycemic index (GI) - foods that do spike our blood sugar levels.

Find out what foods have a low GI and most importantly find out which food you probably eat every day that increases your blood sugar more than does 2 tablespoons of pure sugar.

Low Glycemic Carbs

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