Having good vision is important for a lifetime. Eating for eye health means including certain foods and nutrients that can help to keep your eyes healthy and your vision sharp. Eye care means eating the best foods for eye health and making sure to get an annual exam.
So what should be on your plate if you are eating for eye health? Here are 20 foods that will aid your eye care:
This post was sponsored by Think About Your Eyes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my review.
Eating oily fish with Omega-3 fatty acids at least once a week may reduce age-related macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness and poor vision. One study found that eating regular Omega-3 fatty acids resulted in a 38% reduction in the risk for ARMD. A minimum of two servings a week of an oily fish, such as salmon, tuna or mackerel may also help those suffering from dry eyes.
Kale and Spinach
Two nutrients that are eye care powerhouses are lutein and zeaxanthin. They have been shown to reduce both age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Lutein and zeaxanthin are stored in the macula, part of the retina that acts as a natural sunblock. They also absorb blue light, which is especially harmful to the retina. Not a fan? Other sources of these nutrients include collards, turnip greens, corn, green peas, broccoli, romaine lettuce, and green beans. (Read this post by TechSavvy Mama for info on Blue Light harm to children’s eyes.)
Avocados contain lutein and help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. They’re also a great source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamin E.
Vitamin C has been shown to help minimize the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration and vision loss. So load up on those oranges and citrus fruits such as grapefruits. By the way, oranges also contain lutein and zeaxanthin.
Tomatoes are loaded with carotenoids such as lycopene, as well as vitamin C. We have already discussed that vitamin C is well-known for protecting our eyesight. Lycopene also helps by preventing light-induced eye damage.
Carrots contain beta-carotene, which is known to help strengthens night vision. Carrots calso ontain a lot of vitamin A.
Studies show that vitamin A (along with vitamins C and E) can reduce the impact of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Berries are packed with antioxidants. They reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure, which is a risk factor for macular degeneration. Berries may also help prevent blockages to the arteries that feed oxygen to the retina. Blueberries may help to reduce the risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma. Bilberry contains antioxidant flavonoids called anthocyanins, and it is thought that bilberry can be helpful for improving night vision. Wolfberries are grown in China and are known to have extremely high antioxidant activity. Researchers have been studying wolfberries for improving vision deficiencies, and the results show that wolfberries have the potential to improve damage to the retina. (Never heard of wolfberry before? Young Living carries organic dried wolfberries, as well as making it a primary ingredient in their Ningxia products. Click here for more info.)
Yellow corn is also a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin. The majority of the population does not eat enough fruits and vegetables, but yellow corn may be an easy addition to your family’s diet.
Rich in vitamins A and C, bell peppers can help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Orange bell peppers are also a source of zeaxanthin, a carotenoid that helps to lower the risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.
Broccoli has the capability of activating anti-inflammatory enzymes in the body that encourage detoxification.
Beta carotene is one of the most important nutrients for reducing the risk of macular degeneration, and sweet potatoes contain more beta carotene than any other unfortified food.
Nuts & Seeds
Sunflower seeds and almonds are loaded with Vitamin E, which can protect our eyes from free radical damage and slow the progression of cataracts and age-related macular generation. Vitamin E is thought to protect cells of the eyes from damage caused by the free radicals that break down healthy eye tissue. Chia seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Pistachios are the only nut to contain any significant amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. Walnuts are an excellent nut source of Omega-3s. They are full of antioxidants and vitamin E, which work to combat inflammation and preserve cardiovascular health. Walnuts and Pistachios both have significant amounts of vitamin E, which helps improve the absorption of carotenoids and combat inflammation.
Oysters and Liver
Zinc is incredibly important mineral for our eyes, helping to transport vitamin A from the liver to the retina, to produce melanin, an eye protective pigment. Zinc protects against night vision and cataracts. Primary food sources of zinc include oysters, liver, red meat, poultry, milk, shellfish, baked beans, and whole grains are valuable sources of zinc.
Turkey is another source of zinc, and also contains the B-vitamin niacin, which can help prevent cataracts.
People who consume large portions of olive oil are significantly less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration. Olive oil also helps aid in the absorption of other vitamins and nutrients needed for eye health.
Tea, especially green tea, is loaded with antioxidants, which can be helpful for fighting glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. Teas may also help stop the growth of new blood vessels in the back of the eye, preventing damage blind spots and vision loss from macular degeneration. Studies show that treating retinal cells with green tea’s polyphenols protects them from the damage caused by blue light.
Found in red wine (as well as grapes, blueberries and peanuts) resveratrol can stop blood vessel growth in the eye. The polyphenols in red wine can also reduce damage caused by free radicals. Cheers!
Do you notice any commonalities among the foods listed here? They are all a part of a Mediterranean diet. Studies show that a Mediterranean diet, high in fish, plant-based foods, and healthy fats, is strongly recommended for healthy vision.
What else can you do besides eating these foods for eye health? By getting an annual comprehensive eye exam, eye problems can be detected at their early stages when they are most treatable. Visit the Think About Your Eyes eye care professional locator to find an eye doctor near you.
We need regular eye care to for maintaining eye health and vision. Eating for eye health is one important way to maintain eyesight. The other is getting regular annual eye exams. So think about your eyes, call your eye doctor and schedule an exam today!
Disclosure: Think About Your Eyes is a national public awareness campaign that promotes the benefits of eye health, urging people to get annual comprehensive eye exams. Learn more at: http://bit.ly/1Zoc8bt.
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