Vitamin E and Mineral Nutrition for Eyes: Go Nuts for Eye Health

Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and minerals are the essential ingredients of good nutrition for eyes, but to remember how to get your vitamin and mineral, the word you need to know is "nuts."

Medical research suggests that vitamin E is important in preventing cataracts and macular degeneration, two leading causes of blindness after age 60.

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) of over 4,900 people found that there was a 25 per cent lower risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration among those surveyed who had regularly taken vitamin E.

Not just the AREDS but many other nutritional studies form the basis of the recommendation of ocular nutrition specialists that everyone should take up to 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin E every day in combination with other antioxidants, especially selenium. Selenium helps cells absorb vitamin E.Just a little selenium is enough.

The entire human body contains, on average, only about 14 mg of selenium, but that 14 mg plays important roles in nutrition for eyes as well as in the function and growth of every cell in the body.

Selenium is involved in the production of ATP used for energy storage in the mitochondria. It is essential for some of the enzymes involved in immunity.

The liver uses selenium in the production of coenzyme Q-10. Antioxidant proteins containing selenium capture many of the free radicals generated by the burning of glucose so that liver, muscle, nerve, and brain cells are not damaged by free radicals of oxygen.

So does this mean that for the best nutrition for eyes you have to run out and purchase the most expensive selenium supplement available?

No, a mere two Brazil nuts a day really can be enough for your body's needs. And if you are unable to eat nuts, just four ounces (110 g) of fish or shellfish likewise provides a day's supply of selenium. Oatmeal, brown rice, peas and bean, eggs, and brewer's yeast are also good sources of this mineral.

Another extremely helpful mineral in any program of nutrition for eyes is zinc. This element assists the body in absorbing vitamin A, and it becomes a part of an enzyme that helps the eyes make antioxidant glutathione.

It protects against night blindness and macular degeneration. Food sources include meat, oysters, and, of course, nuts.

If you can't eat nuts, you can take zinc supplements. A good indication that you need a zinc supplement is absence of taste. If putting a zinc tablet on your tongue does not leave a metallic aftertaste, then your body is zinc-deficient.

Just be sure than any zinc supplement you take is formulated with 1 to 3 mg of copper per daily dose, and don't take more than 50 mg of zinc a day. Excessive zinc deregulates your immune system. You don't run the risk of this side effect if you get your nutrition for healthy eyes from nuts.

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