Most people are already aware that certain vitamins and minerals can have a positive effect on eye health.
It has long been understood, for instance, that the vitamin A contained in carrots promotes good vision. In general, any orange-colored fruit or vegetable has significant beta-carotene levels, and will be instrumental in maintaining optimal vision. There are, however, several other lesser known foods that promote healthy eyes.
Keep It Green
Leafy greens such as kale contain substantial amounts of antioxidants. Two of these antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, have been found to decrease the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts. Spinach, mustard greens, and dark leaf lettuce are alternatives for those who don’t care for kale. Blending these powerhouse vegetables into fruit smoothies is another great way to incorporate eye-friendly antioxidants into your diet.
An Incredible Protein for Eye Health
You might be surprised to learn that eggs are a good food to include in your diet if you’re seeking to decrease the risk of macular degeneration. The yolks contain a large quantity of lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as zinc. Oysters, turkey, and chickpeas also contain significant amounts of zinc.
Orange You Glad Your Eyes are Healthy
Oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits that are high in vitamin C also help prevent macular degeneration. Simply adding a few slices of citrus fruit to your daily 8 glasses of water will keep you hydrated while increasing your Vitamin C intake. Other fruits that are significant for eye health include strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries.
Slow Degeneration with Vitamin E
People who are already showing symptoms of macular degeneration may actually be able to slow the progress of this disease by consuming a couple handfuls of almonds on a daily basis. Almonds contain large amounts of vitamin E, which has been found to be instrumental in slowing down the development of macular degeneration. Other foods that contain large levels of vitamin E include wheat germ, peanut butter, avocados, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds.
For Dry Eyes, Look to the Sea
Those who suffer from dry eye syndrome should include tuna, mackerel, trout, anchovies, sardines, and salmon in their diets. Fatty fish are high in certain Omega-3 acids and have been found to aid in helping to keep the retinas moisturized. Despite being described as “fatty,” these fish are a very healthy protein option to add to your meal planning rotation. Because excess body weight has been flagged as a factor linked to macular degeneration, finding healthy ways to incorporate vitamins and nutrient-dense proteins into your diet is essential for eye health.
A Few More Food Facts
Riboflavin is another important dietary ingredient for maintaining good eye health. Foods containing riboflavin include yogurt, skim milk, and many varieties of mushrooms. Drinking green or black tea has also been found to help reduce the chances of cataract development.
Other ways to optimize eye health are to have an eye exam on a regular basis (we can help you with that, with our ability to see patients in Longmont, Lafayette, Boulder, and Greeley!), always wear sunglasses containing UV protection while outside, and quit smoking if that is an issue for you, as tobacco usage has been linked to higher percentages of macular degeneration.
It’s time to make healthy food choices that not only make you happy, but keep your eyes healthy!