36 Foods That Are Fantastic For Boosting Eye Health
If youâ€™re looking for a diet that helps improve your eyes, hereâ€™s some good news: The same diet that helps your heart and the rest of your body will
help your eyes. Plus, youâ€™ll enjoy many delicious choices.
For 2020: The Year of the Eye, the American Academy of Ophthalmology intended to list 20 vision-healthy foods. Instead, we came up with 36. Itâ€™s a
diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans and fish
How is Good Vision Benefited By Nutrition?
â€œSome nutrients keep the eye healthy overall, and some have been found to reduce the risk of eye diseases,â€ said Rebecca J. Taylor, MD, an ophthalmologist
in Nashville, Tennessee.
Eating a diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help your heart as well your eyes. This isn't surprising: Your eyes rely
on tiny arteries for oxygen and nutrients, just as the heart relies on much larger arteries. Keeping those arteries healthy will help your eyes.
What Foods Focus On Eye-Healthy Eating?
Orange-colored vegetables and fruits with vitamin A
Vitamin A is perhaps the best-known eye-healthy nutrient. Your retina needs plenty of vitamin A to help turn light rays into the images we see. Also,
without enough vitamin A, your eyes canâ€™t stay moist enough to prevent dry eyes
Foods like Carrots and sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A. Carrots are a well-known source of vitamin A. Sweet potatoes provide even more vitamin A, Dr. Taylor said. â€œA sweet potato contains more than 200% of the daily dose of vitamin A doctors recommend.â€ Fruits,
including cantaloupe and apricots, can also be a good source of vitamin A.
Fruits and veggies rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C is critical to eye health. As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps keep the body from damage caused by some things we eat, unhealthy habits and
environmental factors. Factors like fried foods, tobacco smoke and the sunâ€™s rays can produce free radicals. These molecules that can damage and
kill cells. Vitamin C helps repair and grow new tissue cells.
Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, such as oranges, tangerines, grapefruit and lemons. Plenty
of foods offer vitamin C, including peaches, red bell peppers, tomatoes and strawberries.
Antioxidants can prevent or at least delay age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts, according to the Age-Related Eye Diseases Study
Another important antioxidant is vitamin E, which make sure to keep cells healthy. Vitamin E can be found in avocados, almonds and sunflower seeds.
Cold-water fish with omega-3 fatty acids
Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids from cold-water fish can help reduce the risk of developing eye disease later on in life, research suggests. These
fish include salmon, tuna, sardines, halibut and trout. â€œOmega-3â€™s are good for tear function, so eating fish
may help people with dry eye,â€ Dr. Taylor said.
Leafy green vegetables rich in lutein and zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants found in the pigments of leafy green vegetables and other brightly colored foods. They are key to protecting
the macula, the area of the eye that gives us our central, most detailed vision. Kale and spinach have lots of
these nutrients. Other foods with useful amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin include romaine lettuce, collards,
turnip greens, broccoli and peas. while not leafy and green, eggs can also be a good source of these nutrients.
Beans and zinc
The mineral zinc helps keep the retina healthy and will protect your eyes from the damaging effects of bright light. However, zinc might lower the
amount of copper in your body, which we need to help form red blood cells. Fortunately, you can increase both at once with different kinds of beans
(legumes), including black-eyed peas, kidney beans and lima beans. Foods high
in zinc also include oysters, lean red meat, poultry and fortified cereals.
Is It Healthy To Get Eye-Healthy Nutrients Through Vitamin Supplements?
Eating the right food is the best way to get eye-healthy nutrients, Dr. Taylor said. â€œIn general, most Americans can and should get enough nutrients
through their diet without needing to take supplements.â€
People who have macular degeneration are an exception. â€œIn this case, taking supplements is recommended by the Age Related Eye Disease Study 2, a follow-up
to the AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease) Study. Talk with your ophthalmologist if you or a family member has AMD,â€ Dr. Taylor said.
No matter your age, itâ€™s not too late to start eating healthy, she said. â€œSo many of my patients focus on a healthy diet only after theyâ€™ve been diagnosed
with a serious health problem. Start eating well now to benefit your vision and your health for the rest of your life.â€