Thursday, May 6, 2010

Foods for Eye Health


World Health - The eye is the human senses are very important/essential. Can be imagined if we had eye damage or blindness, we can not enjoy and feel how beautiful this universe. In fact, we often forget to make eye care, but like other parts of the body, the eyes may be affected by disorders or health problems. These disturbances may be caused by dirty air or tar pollution, radiation, sunlight, radiation from too long in front of computers, and other disturbances.

Studies conducted by the Eye Disease prevalence Research Group (2004) estimates that in 2020 the number of patients with eye disease and blindness in the world will reach 55 million inhabitants. This study also mentions that the eye disease and blindness will increase, especially for those who have been outstanding for over 65 years. A person aged 80 years, which is 8% of the total population, suffered blindness as much as 69%.

Impaired general health of the eye that occurs is the reduction of visual function, red-eye symptoms without any decrease in vision function, and a red eye with decreased visual function. Until now, eye disease which is suffered by many cataract, glaucoma, and infection.

Along with increased attention and knowledge of the effect of nutrition on health, especially the health of the eye causing rapid market growth of the eye health products. Most of the products for eye health which is now marketed in the form of supplements. In addition to antioxidant compounds (vitamins A, C, and E) which had previously been known to improve eye health, other compounds such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin, recently known as a compound that can improve eye health.

Lutein, a yellow carotenoid family of compounds found in many green vegetables. Lutein in the macula and are believed to protect the eye from oxidative damage by ultraviolet radiation (UV).

Macula was in the middle of the retina and directly adjacent to the lens of the eye. Macula is a small area containing millions of cells that help produce sharp eyesight to read or see objects clearly.

Other carotenoid compounds present in the macula is is zeaxanthin, which are known to provide benefits for eye health.

Research conducted by Chitchumroonchokchai and colleagues in 2004 from Ohio State University, indicated that lutein and zeaxanthin may protect the human lens cells from exposure to UV light, which is a major cause of cataract disease. In addition, they compared the antioxidant activity of lutein and zeaxanthin as vitamin E. The results indicate that the lutein and zeaxanthin showed 10 times higher activity compared with vitamin E in protecting cells from damage caused by the lens to ultraviolet light.

In the same year was also carried out a study by Neuringer and colleagues, showed the ability of lutein and zeaxanthin in eye health. While testing in animals, sponsored by DSM Nutritional Products of Switzerland, showed that the supplementation or the addition of lutein and zeaxanthin increase the antioxidant activity in the blood.

Another group of carotenoid compounds which appeared to have the ability to protect the macula from UV exposure is astaxanthin. Guerin et al. (2003) mentions that the ability of antioxidant compounds and anti-inflammatory effects of astaxanthin can provide eye protection from UV rays.

Until now, the antioxidant activity of the compounds lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin provide answers to the mechanism of the increase in eye health. Free radicals derived from UV light or air pollution, into the eye resulted in oxidation of molecules susceptible to the lens of the eye.

These molecules are proteins and fats which make up the eye lens. The effects of oxidation caused damage to proteins or fats in the lens of the eye. Along with increasing age and increasing its pressure accumulating free radicals, protein and fat that are damaged will be even greater amount. That's what makes vision blurred and eventually become blind.

Lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin arresting free radicals (radical scavenger activity) by way of bonding with him before these radicals damage the eye lens protein or fat. Or in other words, lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin may be cited as the eye lens protector against free radical attack.

Carotenoids are found in yellow-orange vegetables like carrots, green vegetables like broccoli, and fruits are red and the yellow-orange, like tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon, and mango. So by eating vegetables and fruits regularly can meet the needs of lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin per day. Besides other effects to consume vegetables and fruits is to increase fiber intake of food is very good for your health.

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