What you put into your body effects the health of everything from the top of your head down to the tips of your toes. Many times we overlook (no pun intended) the effects of nutrition and what role healthy eating habits play when it comes to issues related to our eyes and vision. Our eyes are vascular; meaning they are composed of vessels and ducts that convey fluids like blood. Most foods that are good for your heart, are also good for your eyes. Foods low in trans and saturated fats play an important role in keeping the blood vessels of your eyes healthy and lessen the chances of developing serious eye diseases – especially diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Some foods that have been linked to healthier eyes and their benefits:
- Lutein & Zeaxanthin: eggs, broccoli, lettuce garden peas, Brussel sprouts, zucchini, spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, and romaine lettuce
- Vitamin C: bell peppers, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas, papaya, and many dark green leafy vegetables
- May slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, visual acuity loss and lower the risks of developing cataracts.
- Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, beet greens, pumpkin, red peppers, asparagus, collard greens, swordfish, mango, avocado, and peanut butter.
- Protects cells in the eyes from unstable molecules called free radicals.
- Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3-fatty acids): salmon, chia seeds, flaxseeds, sardines, caviar, mackerel, walnuts, herring, grape leaves, broccoli, spinach, butternuts, anchovy, herring, mollusks, oysters, tuna and more.
- Important for proper visual development and retinal function.
- Zinc: oysters, lamb, short ribs, wheat germ, spinach, pumpkin and squash seeds, cashews, chickpeas, mushrooms, pork, chicken, napa cabbage, palm hearts, sundried tomatoes, green peas, and more.
- Helps bring vitamin “A” from the liver to the retina to produce melanin which is a protective pigment in the eyes.
Good eating habits combined with exercise and regular visits to your eye doctor will definitely lead to a healthier existence and better eye health. You may even slow down or decrease your chances of developing serious eye conditions such as macular degeneration by adhering to a healthier diet. These are just a few of the food choices that we recommend.