I know what you are thinking – fatty acids? How can that be any good for my health or my eyes? Contrary to common beliefs, some fat is actually necessary for you to be healthy – this goes for your eyes, too!
As we’ve discussed before, there is such a thing as good fat, and one perfect example is omega fatty acids. These are also known as Omega-3s and they’re amazing! Miraculous even! So, we’re going to talk about even more benefits that they have to offer. Even if you are unfamiliar with fatty acids and the benefits they can bring to your eyesight, chances are you have heard about omega-3s. So, what are they all about?
What is an Omega-3?
Omega-3s are essentially important dietary fats. They support many of your bodily functions and systems. For example, your immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and cardiovascular system are all supported by this fat. As for your eyes, there are two really important forms of omega-3: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Both of these fatty acids support your retinas and the progression of your vision over time.
DHA is found in high concentrations in the retina, so we know it is very important to the growth and development of this area. This is especially true for developing fetuses, but omega-3s are important to anyone of any age. We know from some modern studies that people who have low levels of DHA and EPA are more likely to have eye diseases and poor vision, no matter the age.
Where Can I Get Omega-3s and How Much Do I need?
Chances are if you don’t eat a lot of fish, then you probably are not getting enough DHA and EPA. The recommended daily intake for both of these fatty acids combined is one half to one gram. DHA and EPA are most easily found in certain types of fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovy, and trout. If you are a vegetarian, however, you can purchase omega-3 that has been processed from algae.
Eating fish around two to three times a week should give you a good dose of omega-3s. You can also take fish oil supplements if you don’t like the taste of fish. However you choose to get it, omega-3s are very important to your eye health. Getting enough omega-3s has been shown to prevent retinal diseases, so make sure you are getting the recommended dose!
Benefits of Omega-3s for Adults
There have been several studies completed in more recent years that suggest omega-3s are linked to preventing dry eyes and macular degeneration in adults. These fatty acids can also help ensure the eyes drain their fluids correctly, which in turn helps to prevent conditions such as glaucoma. Omega-3s have also been linked to preventing high pressure in the eyes as well as retinopathy, or deterioration of the retina.
Ratio of Omega-3s to Omega-6s
Omega-6s are another type of fatty acid that is necessary for our health. However, what is important about omega-6s is their relation to omega-3s in your body. For example, you should have around three times more omega-3s in your system than you do omega-6s. This way, you will have a higher count of DHA and EPA, giving you better vision! Most people, however, have more omega-6s than omega-3s.
If your omega-6 intake is higher than your omega-3 intake, you should make a few small changes. Otherwise, you will miss out on the wonderful eye benefits of omega-3s!
To balance your omega-3s and omega-6s, you should use healthier cooking oils, eat more fish and vegetables, limit your intake of fried foods, limit your intake of red meat, and limit your intake of hydrogenated oils.
Try substituting olive oil for your normal cooking oil, since many of these have omega-6s in them. Eat more fish and vegetables to add some more omega-3s to your diet, and limit how much red meat you eat, as red meat is a high source of omega-6s. If you limit your red meat intake, you will have a higher percentage of omega-3s, which means healthier eyes! Limiting snack foods and fried foods can help you achieve a lower omega-6 rate as well.
Omega-3s and Your Eyes
Whether you eat fish, take fish oil, or opt for a vegetarian option, make sure you are getting enough DHA and EPA. Be sure you are also getting all of the other 17 essential vitamins and nutrients that benefit your vision.
Remember, it’s really important to combine several different techniques for protecting and restoring your vision, as this ensures you are more likely to succeed. Be proactive about your eye health, your future eyes will thank you!