The Eyes Have It: Tips for Healthy Aging
Learn about foods to eat and foods to avoid for life-long health.
Ward Bond, PhD, a Houston-based writer and public speaker, loves to share his passion for helping people live longer and healthier lives. With a doctoral degree in nutrition, he imparts knowledge about the connection between food and health, including vision health. He recently participated in a BrightFocus Chat on Nutrition for Healthy Eyes. Some of his points:
Good for the Body Means Good for the Eyes
“The connection between nutrition and our eyes has to do with the connection of nutrition to every part of the body,” says Bond. Too often people take their eyesight for granted, not realizing that the food we put into our body impacts not just conditions like cardiovascular health, but eye health as well.
We protect our vision by putting on sunglasses, but sometimes fail to consider what and how foods are affecting our eyes. Says Bond, “Everything we eat and everything we put in our mouth will impact our eye health.”
Healthy Eating is a Life-Long Activity
Bond wants to make adults aware that the impact of nutrition starts in infancy and is life-long. “Everything we eat will matter. Not just for today, but it is going to matter 5 years down the road or even 10 years down the road.” Parents can be good role models for their children, providing healthy foods and positive behaviors like getting plenty of sunshine and exercise.
The Perimeter of the Supermarket: A Healthy Place to Be
Start with the perimeter or outer rim of the grocery stores, and the produce department in particular. “It is the most important part of the grocery store and that is where we need to be doing 90 percent of our shopping,” notes Bond.
“What I always suggest when we talk about eye health is to incorporate fruits and vegetables. Focus on green, green, green. We need those live and active nutrients, those vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.”
Look at bright colored fruits and vegetables, says Bond. They contain important carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. “You look at tomatoes, apricots, and anything with bright colors, or dark leafy green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and of course the ever-popular kale. These contain the nutrients for good health.”
Bond also stresses the importance of good fats in one’s diet, foods that include olive oil, nuts, and avocados.
What to Avoid
Bond warns against “those hydrogenated oils that we find in potato chips and other types of products that, technically, I would not even call food.” Also on the bad list: refined sugars and artificial sweeteners. He stresses that highly processed foods are not necessarily less expensive or easier to cook than fresh produce. “I found that my grocery bill was over 50 percent less by spending more time in the produce department.”
He also suggested that watching cooking shows on television is an educational and entertaining way to learn more about delicious food and good nutrition.
Read more about Dr. Bond’s work and his advice on eating right for eye health.
- Healthy Living and Macular Degeneration: Tips to Protect Your Sight (Publication)
- 4 Nutrition Tips for Eye Health (Tips and How-Tos)
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin for Protection against Macular Degeneration (Expert Article)
- The Top Foods for Eye Health (Expert Article)