What is DHA
DHA is a shortened term for docosahexaenoic acid. It is an omega-3 fatty acid that has been linked to healthy eyes. DHA is a fatty acid that is essential to our health, but it must be obtained through our foods – the human body cannot create it itself. For this reason, it is extremely important to eat enough of the foods that can give our bodies this fatty acid. Your diet is a direct link to your eye’s ability to obtain this important fatty acid, and therefore your eye health as well!
DHA foods – what should you eat?
There are two types of essential omega fatty acids that are present in our foods. Omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids are both necessary and important, but according to All About Vision, it is important that we consume these foods in the right ratio: “Most experts believe the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in a healthy diet should be 4-to-1 or lower. Unfortunately, the typical American diet, characterized by significant amounts of meat and processed foods, tends to contain 10 to 30 times more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids”.
The best source of omega-3 fatty acids for eye health is cold-water fish. All About Vision recommends a diet high in “sardines, herring, salmon and tuna” to reduce the risk of eye diseases. If you aren’t a fish lover, however, you don’t need to fret. Fish oil supplements are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and you can skip the fish for dinner. Plant and nut oils also contain DHA.
DHA is beneficial for your eyes, but also the rest of your body as well! WebMD cites adequate amounts of DHA reducing the risk of macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, cognitive declination, prostate cancer, and unhealthy or damaged arteries.
EPA and DHA
EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid, is another omega-3 fatty acid that is linked to a healthier existence. A study in the international journal, “Advances in Nutrition” cites EPA and DHA as being “important for proper fetal development, including neuronal, retinal, and immune function. EPA and DHA may affect many aspects of cardiovascular function including inflammation, peripheral artery disease, major coronary events, and anticoagulation”.
While you may think that supporting your eye health is limited to visiting your eye doctor from time to time and being sure not to stare at your computer screen for too long, make sure to keep in mind your diet as well. Not only are omega-3 fatty acids important for your vision, they are also important for your overall health. Consuming fish or fish oil supplements is a crucial part of maintaining the nutrients that your body needs to function at its best.