Our modern lifestyle is putting our eyes under more strain than ever before. From long days in the office to late-night Tweeting, our eyes are constantly active.
We can probably all admit to being slightly hooked on our digital devices. But did you know they emit harmful blue light? And over time, that blue light can seriously damage our eyes and even lead to blindness!
By: Nicola Haley
Don’t worry, we’re not here to tell you to part with your smartphones. Luckily for us, those clever scientific researchers at Harvard University have revealed that certain superfoods can help protect our eyes. But which superfoods offer our eyes the most protection? (Spoiler alert – it’s not carrots!)
What’s So Bad about Blue Light?
Here comes the science…
Blue light has a shorter wavelength and a higher frequency than other visible light. This high frequency means the rays of light vibrate more energetically. As blue light rays enter your eye and hit your retina, that extra vibration can cause damage to your macula – a super important yellow-pigmented area of your retina.
The macula helps filter out harmful blue light. Think of them as your eye’s own natural sunglasses. But over time, exposure to blue light takes its toll on your macula. If your macula is damaged, it stops being able to filter out blue light – leaving those energetic rays free to wreak havoc on your retina.
This can lead to something called advanced macular degeneration (or AMD). Scarily, this is the leading cause of blindness in the West. A whopping 30% of people over the age of 75 suffer from AMD.
How can Superfoods Help?
Researchers found the macula needs certain key nutrients to stay healthy. Lutein and zeaxanthin to be exact. These two amazing carotenoids carry yellow pigment that is so vital to the macula’s ability to filter out blue light.
The good news is that Harvard’s study showed people who eat plenty of lutein and zeaxanthin are 40% less likely to get advanced age-related macular degeneration. And the research has some real weight to it. As the largest study of its kind, it followed 102,046 participants over the course of 20 years.
Which Superfood Comes Out on Top?
And so to the burning question – which superfoods should we eat to protect our eyes from macular degeneration?
Topping the bill is the mighty kale. This intensely green (and delicious) superfood is packed with vital nutrients and already features as a firm favorite among healthy- eating fans. And now, as the superfood with the highest levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, there’s yet another reason to love it!
Next in line is raw cress, followed by raw spinach, cooked spinach, and green peas. Contrary to the old wives’ tales, carrots had relatively low levels of eyesight-protecting nutrients.
I know, we were shocked too. It seems that when it comes to protecting our eyesight, eating our greens is really where it’s at.
So who’s in the mood for some kale? Put it in a smoothie, add it to a stir-fry, turn it into soup. However we eat it, making sure it’s a regular part of our diets will give our eyes the best possible future.
You can make a skin detoxing kale and aloe vera smoothie with this recipe!
Do you have any kale recipes you love? Share your recipe with us in the comments and we may feature you in an upcoming post!
Nicola is a writer and designer who works in the fields of heath, nutrition, wellness and mindfulness. She is an advocate of clean living and passionate about natural healing.