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Nutrition That Keeps Your Eyes Sparkling

You can be an eyesore . . . or you can be eye candy! Clear, vibrant eyes show that you are on top of the world. By following my Beauty Diet, you can protect your beautiful eyes and your precious sight. Here are some specific diet tips to keep your eyes sparkling:

*Eat plenty of foods rich in fresh vitamin C, which not only is an eye-protective antioxidant, but also nourishes your natural beauty in countless other ways. Among my Top 10 Beauty Foods, you’ll find lots of vitamin C in blueberries, kiwi, sweet potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes. You can increase your daily dose of vitamin C by eating foods like peppers, grapefruit, oranges, strawberries, lemons, and broccoli. (For more information, see Beauty benefits Top 10 Beauty Foods.)

*Eat lots of whole, natural foods that contain the fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin E to protect the lipids in your lovely eyes. Among my Top 10 Beauty Foods, you’ll find vitamin E in walnuts, blueberries, kiwifruit, spinach, and tomatoes. Other foods rich in vitamin E include peaches, prunes, cabbage, asparagus, avocados, and nuts and seeds. (For more information, see Beautybenefits Top 10 Beauty Foods.)

*Increase your intake of beta-carotene, which has antioxidant effects and which the body converts into vitamin A, an important eye nutrient that helps the eye adapt from bright light to darkness. Among my Top 10 Beauty Foods, you’ll find significant amounts of beta-carotene in sweet potatoes, spinach, kiwi, and tomatoes. You can also add beta-carotene to your diet with foods like pumpkin, carrots, chilies, mangoes, cantaloupe, and apricots. Among my Beauty benefits Top 10 Beauty Foods, good sources of retinol, the active form of vitamin A found in animal sources, are oysters, yogurt, and salmon. Other sources include milk, cheddar cheese, and eggs.

*Consume foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, the related carotenoids that are especially protective of your enchanting eyes. One recent study published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology showed that lutein and zeaxanthin provide photoprotection when used topically, orally, or both—but the dietary approach shows the most promise. Specifically, the study concluded that oral administration of lutein may provide better protection than that afforded by topical application of this antioxidant when measured by changes in lipid peroxidation and photoprotective activity in the skin following UV light irradiation. Among my Top 10 Beauty Foods, lutein and zeaxanthin are found in spinach, blueberries, kiwifruit, and tomatoes. They are also found in egg yolks, as well as in green vegetables such as kale, turnip greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, corn, garden peas, and Brussels sprouts. The lutein in egg yolks appears to be more bioavailable. Research has revealed that eating one egg a day significantly raises lutein and zeaxanthin levels.

*Eat plenty of foods rich in zinc. This mineral is essential to eye function, and its antioxidant effects protect the tissues of the eye from the damaging effects of UV light. Zinc also has countless other beauty benefits. Among my Top 10 Beauty Foods, oysters are a super source of zinc. You also can add more zinc to your diet with meats, seafood, liver, milk and other dairy products, beans, and whole grains.

*Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, the super beauty food that supports healthy eyes. Choose cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and trout. Add walnuts, spinach, flax, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and soybeans to your diet (for more information, see Beauty benefits Top 10 Beauty Foods).

*Avoid sugar. It has been known for a long time that the high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes harm the lens of the eye. Now scientists have determined that even if you don’t have diabetes, you are putting your eyes at risk if you regularly consume carbohydrates that quickly raise your blood sugar level. A 2007 article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that a high-glycemic-index diet significantly increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration in people who do not have diabetes.

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