In the field of natural eye care it is useful to understand certain terms and words that are frequently used by eye care professionals and nutritionists. One such term is the word Phytonutrients. Therefore, what exactly are phytonutrients? These are basically substances that are present in plants that are beneficial to our health with disease fighting properties. Plants actually rely on these natural chemical substances that protect and preserve them from threats such as germs, fungi and bugs.
These natural plant substances are also commonly known as Phytochemicals. Considering the fact that improving eye health is a major concern given the increase in eye conditions and eye diseases, it is important to understand how natural substances can help our vision health and reduce the risks for eye problems.
There is evidence to suggest that foods consisting of phytonutrients are very beneficial not just for general health but vision health as well. This is due in part to their ability to boost the body’s immune system from damaging free radicals.
Here are some additional benefits of consuming foods that are rich in phytonutrients. Such foods consisting of these natural compounds have been known to reduce the risks for Cancer and reduce heart disease.
What are some food sources of phytonutrient rich foods that are good for the eyes? Some food sources are mainly fruits and vegetables, legumes, spices, tea and whole grains to name a few. These can easily be identified by their pigments. For instance, you can determine whether or not an eye food is rich in this nutrient by the color of the food. According to Louis Premkumar, Professor at Southern Illinois University of Medicine, the darker the hue of the vegetable or fruit, the richer is its’ Phytonutrient content. From this point of view, some examples in terms of these types of foods for better vision include dark red colored watermelons, dark green leafy vegetables and dark hued Berries.
There are a variety of different groups of Phytonutrients. Some of the most common ones are Carotenoids, Lignans, Lipids, Flavonoids and Tocopherols.
Vision Benefits of Phytonutrients: Here are some additional Phytonutrient food sources along with some vision promoting nutrients that they possess. Some better vision food sources include the following: Tomatoes, Pink Grapefruit, Red Peppers, Watermelon and Tomato products. This class of Phytonutrient foods consists of Lutein. This important nutrient is found in the Macula of the eye; the part of the eye responsible for sharper eyesight that also enables us to see fine details. This nutrient therefore sharpens eyesight. Additionally, also it is responsible for preventing vision loss and in conjunction with Zeaxanthin, increases the thickness of the Macula, thereby cutting the risk for Macular Degeneration.
Additionally, Phytonutrient food sources are Carrots, Apricots, Spinach, Collard Greens, Broccoli and Kale. These food sources of Phytonutrients consists of the Phytonutrient Beta-Carotene. The human body converts Beta-Carotene into Vitamin A. This nutrient protects the surface of the eyes (the Cornea) thereby promoting better vision.
Phytonutrients are beneficial not just to plants but humans as well. By increasing these food sources in our diets, we are doing something good for our health by reducing our risks for diseases such as Cancer and heart disease while making our eyes healthier and strong.