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Food For Your Eyes

By Daily Graphic

Fast-acting carbohydrates (i.e. simple carbs and products made from them) have been shown to play a role in age related vision loss (macular degeneration).

Research has shown that foods that will protect our eyes are ones that are rich in the antioxidants beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin, plus zinc and omega-3 fats.

Below are a list of such foods in our Ghanaian diet.

• Carrots

Yes your mother was right! Carrots are loaded with beta carotene, an antioxidant that helps reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

• Bell Peppers (This includes green pepper, I mean the large ones, as well as the more colourful “kpapo shito range” of peppers)

Brightly coloured bell peppers, whether green, red, orange or yellow, are rich sources of some of the best nutrients available.

They are excellent sources of vitamin C and vitamin A two very powerful antioxidants which have been shown to specifically protect the eyes.

• Turkey ( Not the fatty turkey tail please! I mean the meat itself devoid of all visible fats!)

Turkey is rich in zinc as well as the B-vitamin niacin, which specifically protects against cataracts.

• Sweet Potatoes

Once again Beta-carotene abounds in all varieties of sweet potatoes. For maximum nutritional benefit you can cook with the skin on and peel just before eating. Your eyesight will be all the better for it.

• Spinach
This is a vegetable that is not too common to the average Ghanaian, but it can occasionally be obtained from our large supermarkets or specific dealers in natural produce.

There’s one located at a filling station near the 37 trotro/taxi station. (That’s free advertising). In any case, Spinach provides four eye -protecting ingredients!

It comes packaged with vitamin C, beta carotene and large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin — a matched pair of antioxidants found in high concentrations in the tissue of the macula (a part of the eye).

• Salmon and Sardines

The much touted omega-3-fatty acids are also helpful to the eyes. Studies have shown that regularly eating foods rich in omega-3 fats can help protect tiny blood vessels buried within the eyes. Salmon and sardines are among your best sources.

Your eyes are one of your most indispensable assets. Take good care of them!

By Laurene Boateng