The exotic fruit shown to protect against vision loss

Eye health: Nutritionist reveals foods that protect your eyes

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Taking care of our eyes is vital, especially as we get older. While there are some factors that can have an effect on our vision that are beyond our control, there are things we can do to potentially lower our risk of problems. Diet is one such way to do this.

According to the Eye Clinic London, dragon fruit is one exotic food that could help protect the eyes.

Dragon fruit originates from southern Mexico and other Central American countries including Guatemala, Costa Rica, and El Salvador.

Also known as pitaya, or strawberry pear, the name dragon fruit derives from the appearance of its scaly and spiky skin.

The Eye Clinic explains the benefits of the fruit. It says: “Dragon fruit is rich in vitamin A and C and carotene.

“These vitamins are known to nourish and protect the cornea.

“This fruit has a very unique appearance and has recently become extremely popular due to its many health benefits and nutrients.

“This fruit is good for maintaining both low-light and colour vision.”

Vitamin A deficiency is the world’s leading preventable cause of childhood blindness.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) lists it as an important “eye-friendly” nutrient.

It says: “Vitamin A supports functioning of the conjunctival membranes and cornea.”

The NHS also states that vitamin A is needed for “helping vision in dim light”.

Other food sources of vitamin A include:

  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Oily fish
  • Fortified low-fat spreads
  • Milk and yoghurt
  • Liver.

Similarly, vitamin C is acknowledged by other sources as important for vision.

“Vitamin C, ascorbic acid, promotes healthy blood vessels and helps neutralise oxidative damage that can lead to cataract development or age-related macular degeneration (AMD) progression,” the AOA says.

Adults need around 40 milligrams of vitamin C daily, the NHS says.

This should be manageable through diet alone, although additional supplements can be taken.

Other sources of vitamin C in food include:

  • Citrus fruit, such as oranges and orange juice
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Potatoes.

The health benefits of dragon fruit extend beyond vision, though.

One study, published in the World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said: “Dragon fruit have activity of antioxidants [that] can also prevent inflammatory diseases such as gout and arthritis.

“Pitaya fruits have a high dosage of vitamin C, vitamin A, B1, B12 and E. Mineral contents in dragon fruits include a good dosage of potassium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.”

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