By guest blogger Dr. Mao Shing Ni, DOM, PhD, ABAAHP, LAc; author of the bestselling book Secrets of Longevity.
More than ever, we use our eyes to stare at small type and images on computer screens, televisions, and cellphones--a modern trend that leads to eye fatigue and an increase in age-related eye problems. But diminished eyesight does not have to be an inevitable part of a long life. Use these 5 secrets to promote and preserve the health of your eyes.
1. Drink juice to brighten your eyesight
An age-old Chinese folk remedy for clearing the vision is a juice blend of celery, peppermint, and Chinese parsley. Research has caught up with this wisdom, and we now know that luteolin, an antioxidant bioflavonoid found in these three ingredients, has been found to provide the best protection to cell DNA from radiation. Some evidence shows that luteolin helps protect the eye from UV radiation damage, as well as from glycation, a process in which sticky sugar molecules bind up protein, potentially damaging the retina. Luteolin also promotes healthy blood sugar levels and regulates insulin sensitivity. Blend together celery, peppermint, and Chinese parsley in a blender with a little water, or in a juicer. Drink this fresh juice daily to see well into the future!
2. Eat for eye health
Let nature help you maintain vision health with its bounty of beneficial foods for eyesight. Spinach is full of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that protect your retina from the macular degeneration that comes with age. Don't forget: Fat increases lutein absorption, so remember to sauté your spinach in a little olive oil. Other lutein- and zeaxanthin-dense vegetables include spinach, kale, turnip greens, collards, mustard greens, squash, green peas, broccoli, pumpkin, and corn.
Chlorophyll-rich algae like spirulina, chlorella, and blue-green algae possess nutrients that are beneficial for the eyes. Carrots, loaded with vitamin A and beta-carotene, are also a great help to your eyes. Bilberry, a cousin of blueberry, boosts blood flow to eye nerves and is also rich in antioxidants. Goji berry is used to strengthen the eyesight, so snack on them between meals.
My herbal remedy, Eyes, contains lycium fruit and chrysanthemum flower to help nourish dry, tired, and blurry eyes. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this classic herbal combination is formulated to nourish and enrich kidney and liver yin to benefit the eyes.
3. Stay hydrated
Proper hydration is essential for good eye function, so drink filtered water regularly to stay hydrated. A slow and regular intake of water creates a constant supply of water to lubricate and nourish our eyes. Drink eight glasses of water every day.
4. Use instant eye remedies
Try these dietary and herbal remedies for overall eye health:
• To nourish your eyes, follow Popeye's lead. Boil four ounces of fresh spinach in four cups of water. Drink this spinach tea daily to give vital nourishment to your eyes.
• Grape seed extract (OPC) and bilberry extracts contain potent antioxidants for eye health.
• Taking ginkgo on a daily basis has been shown to improve circulation to the eyes. Find it in a health food store.
• When your eyes feel tired, lie down and place slices of cucumber on your eyelids to soothe the eyes and restore moisture.
• As a general rule of thumb, everyone under age 40 should have an eye exam once every two to four years, and from 40 on, get checked once every two years. This way, you can detect issues before they become severe.
I hope these help you maintain good vision well into your golden years! May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.