Research and studies conducted by various eye institutes have shown that for optimal eye health, our diet must contain several nutrients. The absence of these nutrients, especially as you age, can lead you to suffer from macular degeneration, cataracts, impaired vision and even blindness.
The most important foods for protecting your eye health are the ones which are rich in antioxidant beta carotene, lutein, vitamin C and E, zeaxanthin, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Also, it is best to get these nutrients from foods because foods may contain some additional nutrients that may also help.
Here are some power-packed foods which can keep your eyes healthy.
Foods For Optimal Eye Health
Carrots and other orange colored fruits and vegetables are loaded with beta carotene, an antioxidant vitamin A that can protect your vision and help the retina and other parts of your eyes to function optimally. Vitamin A lowers the risk of macular degeneration and cataract as you age. Carrots can be eaten in salads, soups, stews or you can drink carrot juice also to get the desired benefits.
2. Pink And Red Grapefruit
Eating antioxidant rich foods is great for eye health. Vitamin C rich red and pink grapefruit is high in antioxidant beta carotene and can protect your eyes from the risk of macular degeneration. Other excellent sources of vitamin C are strawberries, guava, orange, papaya and Brussels Sprouts etc.
Along with vitamin C, spinach also contains eye protecting ingredients like lutein and zeaxanthin in high concentration, which help to increase the pigment density in the macula, thus providing protection to retina and also lowering the risk of macular degeneration. Spinach can be eaten raw, added to stir fries or to make delicious smoothies.
4. Seeds, Nuts, And Wheat Germ
Vitamin C and E both are helpful in keeping tissues healthy and strong. You can get enough vitamin C from food sources; but vitamin E can be obtained from selected food sources like sunflower seed, wheat germ, almonds, pecans and some vegetable oils. Eating handful of almonds everyday can provide half of your required vitamin E daily dose.
Eggs are also good for eye health and reduce the risk of macular degeneration because egg yolk contains zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin. Protect your eyes by eating this vision- friendly nutrient rich food, especially if you have family history of cataract or macular degeneration.
5. Fatty Fish
Researches have shown that fatty fishes like salmon, sardine, tuna, mackerel trout and anchovies are rich in omega-3 fatty acid and can help to protect your eyes by protecting the tiny blood vessels inside the eyes.. Salmon is particularly helpful in reducing the risk of cataract because this fish is rich in B vitamins niacin. The healthy fats contained in fish cut the risk of macular degeneration by defending the eyes from damaging sunlight and free radicals.
Shellfishes like crab, oyster and lobster are high in mineral zinc which is essential for all the body tissues and particularly required for keeping your vision sharp. It is found in high concentration in the tissues of the retina. Those with low level of zinc in the retina usually suffer from macular degeneration. Eating zinc rich food is necessary for your eye health. Other than shellfish, pumpkin seeds, lean beef, peanut butter etc. are also good source of this nutrient.
7. Whole Grains
Emerging researches have shown that eating low quality carbohydrates like refined carbs and sugary food increases the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataract. Instead of eating high glycemic carbs which cause rapid surge in blood sugar level, foods containing low glycemic index can help to reduce the risk of these age related eye disease. Add in your diet whole oats, quinoa, brown rice and whole wheat pasta and bread. Whole grains contain zinc, vitamin E and niacin which help to keep eyes healthy.
Kidney beans, lentils and black-eyed peas are excellent sources of bioflavonoid and zinc and can help to protect the retina and also lower the risk for developing macular degeneration and cataracts.
Tomatoes get their vibrant color from lycopene and are an excellent source of vitamin C and carotenoids which are great vision protector. Lycopene which is present in ocular tissues helps to prevent the retina and other parts of eye from getting damaged from light.
Research shows that eating antioxidant rich food rather than taking supplement is more effective is keeping the eyes health. So add these vision-friendly foods in your diet, stay hydrated and always wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from sun’s UV rays.