From Dark Circles To Puffy Eyes, What Your Eyes Can Tell You About Your Health
Cucumber slices. Cold teaspoons. An ice compress. There are many beauty hacks we’ve tried to get rid of some of the most common eye problems, like dark circles and under-eye bags.
While we mostly blame such blemishes on a lack of sleep, there could be other reasons your peepers look less than perky – and those reasons could be much more serious.
Why do I have dark circles?
Causes: Lack of sleep, thyroid problems, anaemia or food intolerances
Dark circles under the eyes, often called ‘panda eyes’, are one of the most common eye issues that women struggle with.
Lack of sleep is often cited as the obvious culprit – nothing a good seven or eight hours’ sleep a night won’t fix. Right?
Well, there might more to it that simply getting enough sleep. “There are two potential health causes: thyroid problems or anaemia.
If you’re confident that you’re getting enough sleep but are still feeling excessively tired (which can be a symptom of both these conditions) and the dark circles just won’t go, then see your doctor to get tested for both of these conditions,
Often replenishing your iron levels is enough to deal with anaemia. To get the most of iron from foods include in your diet red, lean meat, liver, egg yolks, lentils, chickpeas and seeds.
With this mineral, it’s not how much of it we consume, but how well we absorb it. Coffee and tea can significantly slow down its absorption, so you might want to cut down on them.
On the other hand, Vitamin C can help the absorption, so reach for red peppers, broccoli, kale and berries. Alternatively, if you had your blood test and you are Iron deficient, you can replenish it by taking a supplement
Another common cause may be food intolerances – especially to wheat, gluten or cow’s milk. Try cutting out one of these for a period of one month to see if this helps. If you decide to eliminate one (or more) of these foods long-term, it is best to work with a nutritional practitioner who can give you a healthy food programme to make sure you are not missing out on any nutrients.
What Do Yellowing Whites Of The Eye Mean?
Causes: Hepatitis, liver dysfunction, bile duct obstruction, jaundice
If the whites of your eyes look yellow, it’s important to see your doctor - as it might be a sign of a serious disease that should not be ignored. ‘This can potentially be due to conditions such as hepatitis, liver dysfunction, bile duct obstruction or jaundice.
If you have seen your doctor and ruled out these causes, then most likely, it could be that your liver needs extra support.
You can show your liver some love by following these simple steps:
Cutting down on alcohol (or giving yourself a complete break for a month or two)
Cutting out processed foods and vegetable oils, and reducing your intake of sugar and white flour
Increasing your vegetable intake – they provide fibre to bind bile and toxins in the gut, as well as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support detoxification
Eat bitter greens such as rocket and watercress, and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, kale and cauliflower
Eat eggs, onions and garlic – they provide sulphur compounds that support liver detoxification pathways
Take a liver support supplement
Drinking warm water with a squeeze of lemon juice first thing in the morning to cleanse your body from toxins
Why are my eyes bloodshot?
Causes: Eye strain, allergies, capillary fragility, conjunctivitis, blepharitis, uveitis and glaucoma
If you’re experiencing red or bloodshot eyes it’s wise to see your doctor first. Serious conditions like conjunctivitis, blepharitis, uveitis and glaucoma can all result in redness.
However, bloodshot eyes are often caused by daily activity. For most of us working at a computer for at least eight hours a day is a norm, and bloodshot eyes might also simply be a result of eyestrain.
When we are looking at a screen, we tend to blink less frequently – about one third as often as we usually do. No wonder they’re irritated.
Make sure you’re giving your eyes a break every now and then – at least for 5-10 minutes once an hour, and preferably looking away and into the distance every 15 minutes or so. If you’re experiencing eyestrain it can also be worth having an eye test to see if you need glasses or to have your prescription changed.
Bloodshot eyes can also be caused by a weakening of the capillaries, the condition called capillary fragility.
Other symptoms you may notice include nosebleeds or easy bruising. If this is the cause, it’s vital to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C from a variety of fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, red pepper and kiwi. Taking a daily supplement of vitamin C with bioflavonoids could also be helpful
Bloodshot eyes, like itchy eyes, can also be the result of an allergy. If you’re also experiencing other allergic or hay fever-type symptoms such as sneezing or general eye irritation, then try a Quercetin-based (a natural antihistamine) supplement that will bring relief,”
Why Are My Eyes Dry?
Causes: Dry eye syndrome, Sjögren’s syndrome
Does the uncomfortable feeling of having sand in your eyes sound familiar? You might suffer from dry eye syndrome.
This gritty sensation may be caused by age - for example post-menopausal women- taking certain medications, environmental factors as well as deficiency in Vitamin A.
True vitamin A is only found in animal foods – especially liver, other organ meats and cod liver oil; with some in egg yolks, butter, fish, other meats and grass-fed dairy products.
Although vegetables are often said to contain vitamin A, they don’t – they only contain beta-carotene or ‘pro-vitamin A’, which the body may only convert to vitamin A in very small amounts (as little as 3%).
So how can we top up vitamin A?
The best ways are to either eat a small serving of liver once or twice a week, take a good-quality cod liver oil supplement or make sure you’re regularly eating the other animal foods listed above. When choosing a cod liver oil supplement, go for one that contains naturally occurring vitamin A to lubricate your eyes.
Another contributing factor to dry eyes may be lack of healthy fats in your diet, potentially because you need fats to actually absorb vitamin A from your foods.
Most of the foods listed above as good sources of vitamin A are good sources of fats too, which makes sense – nature gives us nutrients that work in synergy with each other! Again, if you can’t eat these foods, then making sure you have enough good fats in your diet from other sources is essential – think coconut oil, avocadoes, olive oil and nuts and seeds.
Lastly, another cause for dry eyes can be a condition called Sjögren’s syndrome.
This is an autoimmune condition that can affect many areas of the body but particularly the glands that produce saliva and tears. If you suffer from Sjögren’s syndrome then it is best to work with a nutritional practitioner or doctor who can work with you to tackle the underlying immune imbalance.
What’s Causing Puffy Eyes?
Causes: Diet imbalance, weak kidneys
Puffy eyes could signal an imbalance in your diet.
Puffy eyes may be related to an imbalance between sodium and potassium in your diet – specifically, too much sodium (salt).
Most processed foods tend to be high in added salt, providing high doses of sodium but very little potassium – these include breads, cereals, sauces, processed meats and snack foods. In contrast, vegetables contain much more potassium than sodium and better match the natural balance that we should be getting.
So cutting down on processed foods, avoiding adding salt to your foods and increasing your fresh vegetable intake can help.
Puffy eyes may also indicate that your kidneys need extra support.
Drinking enough water is the most important step here, to ensure you’re well hydrated. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which are diuretics and can make the problem worse. Nettle and dandelion leaf teas can also be beneficial