We often hear people say that they eat certain foods to help their heart or strengthen bones or because it’s beneficial to their overall health. Why then shouldn’t we also choose to eat certain foods to maintain and improve our eye health? Even the youngest children will tell you that if you eat your carrots, you will have good eyesight. Most people don’t realize that optimal eye health starts with the food we choose to consume. We tend to take the health of our eyes for granted, especially when we are young and have good vision, but we should all be aware that by eating healthy today, we may be able to prevent issues with our eyesight in the future.
Nutrients That Can Boost Eye Health
It has been scientifically documented that nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and vitamins C and E may aid in delaying the progression of age-related vision problems like macular degeneration, cataracts and vision loss. You can take supplements or can add foods rich in these nutrients to help maintain and boost your eye health.
Nutrient-Rich Foods That Can Promote Eye Health
Some of the foods that are rich in nutrients to help your eye health include:
- Vegetables: usually any dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, swiss chard, mustard greens and collards. In addition, you can add carrots, broccoli, peas and avocados which are also rich in antioxidants.
- Fish: Fatty fish which are high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, anchovies, sardines, trout, mackerel, herring or tuna.
- Protein: Non-meat foods rich in protein such as eggs, nuts or beans (which are also more economical than meat protein).
- Fruit: Citrus fruit like oranges, grapefruits, lemons and mandarins which are rich in vitamin C.
- Berries: Like citrus fruits, berries are high in vitamin C but also in antioxidants.
- Whole grains: Switch from refined carbohydrates to quinoa, brown rice, whole oats and whole-wheat breads and pasta.
- Legumes: Aside from being high in protein and carbohydrates, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, peanuts and lentils are good sources of bioflavonoids and zinc.
- Meat: Lean pork and beef, in moderation, can also help your eye health since pork contains lutein and zeaxanthin, and beef contains zinc and fat, which helps us absorb fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A in carrots.
The Importance of a Balanced Diet
Most of us know that we have to have a well-balanced diet to stay healthy and maintain our weight. However, not many of us remember that if we don’t maintain a healthy weight and become obese, we increase the risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes, which is one of the leading causes of blindness in adults.
Similarly, a poor diet, or one that contains large amounts of highly processed and high-fat foods can increase the possibility of eye problems. Also, not drinking enough water during the day can cause dehydration, which may lead to chronic vision and eye conditions such as dry eyes.
We have to learn how to protect our eyes before our eyesight starts to deteriorate. We need to become aware of the important nutrients we should include in our diet to prevent problems since nutrition is an excellent form of preventative medicine. By maintaining a balanced diet with the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables, we can help protect our eye health.