A few weeks ago we took a look at the myth that eating lots of carrots will help your vision. While that may be more fiction than fact due to the amount of Vitamin A already present in the American diet, there are many foods that are rich in potential benefit to your eyes’ health! In fact, studies have shown that certain vitamins and minerals help stave off macular degeneration or cataracts, and eating foods with these nutrients can help prevent eye problems. Here are ten of the best foods to include in your diet for optimal eye health.
Foods for Eye Health
1. Fish: Salmon, tuna, sardines, and other fatty fish are filled with healthy omega-3 oils. Omega-3 fat includes DHA, which is a fatty acid found in the retina. The extra boost of omega-3 and DHA may help prevent both macular degeneration and cataracts.
2. Spinach: Spinach, along with its cousins, kale, turnip greens, and collard greens, is rich in carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin, which are the only carotenoids found in the eye. Lutein and zeaxanthin can increase the pigment of the retina, helping protect the eye from harmful light. They also are linked to lowering risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
3. Eggs: Eggs are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as zinc, which is another mineral linked to vision benefits. Eggs also contain sulphur and cysteine, which are parts of a protein that helps to protect the eye’s lens by acting as an antioxidant.
4. Onions: Onion and its cousin garlic are rich in sulphur, as well.
5. Nuts: Another vitamin that slows macular degeneration is vitamin E, which is found in foods like nuts. Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts (and peanut butter) and even sunflower seeds are high in this vitamin.
6. Berries: Rich in vitamin C, berries pack a punch when it comes to health benefits. Vitamin C helps slow macular degeneration and cataracts. Blueberries are especially good for the eyes; not only are they filled with vitamin C, but they also contain lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc.
7. Broccoli: Vitamin C is found in this super vegetable, and broccoli also contains carotenoids that help protect the eye against free radicals.
8. Turkey: When you fill up your holiday plate with extra helpings of roasted turkey, just tell yourself and your relatives that you are doing it for your eyes. Turkey is full of zinc and vitamin B-3, also known as niacin. Niacin has been linked to reducing the risk of cataracts.
9. Tomatoes: Tomatoes contain lycopene, which has been shown to act as an antioxidant, protecting the eyes from damage caused by UV rays. Tomatoes also are rich in lutein.
10. Bell peppers: Bell peppers contain much vitamin C; combine them with tomatoes, broccoli, onions, and spinach for a salad that your eyes will thank you for!