When we choose to eat healthy, we do so with the hopes of keeping our bodies healthy and in shape. But do we ever think about dining for our eyesight? Probably not, but fear not – incorporating foods that are healthy for the eyes into our diet can’t get any easier than this. (And yes, that includes carrots!)
- Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, collard, and mustard greens are very nutritious for your eyes. They are high in lutein, which is a carotenoid. Carotenoids are pigments that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors. Carotenoids act as antioxidants and are believed to reduce the development of macular degeneration.
Other foods containing carotenoids are green peas and summer squash.
- Cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which also protects against macular degeneration as well as cataracts. It is also believed to act as a lubricant, helping to prevent dry eyes.
If you happen to loathe seafood, no worries; you can reap the same benefits of sardines by taking fish oil capsules or flaxseed oil supplements!
- Eggs contain lutein and vitamin A, which has been thought to protect against night blindness. Lutein and vitamin A also promote healthy eye
- Whole grains like quinoa, whole oats, whole-wheat breads, and brown rice all contain eye-friendly niacin, zinc, and vitamin E.
- Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
- Berries (especially blueberries – a fantastic source of antioxidants) and citrus fruits (think oranges and grapefruit) have high levels of vitamin C, and may lessen the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Other foods that are healthy for the eyes are brightly colored fruits and vegetables of all types, including bell peppers, pumpkin, strawberries, carrots. … The more colorful, the better for your eyes!
- Legumes, such as a wide variety of beans, lentils, and black-eyed peas, are great for the retina because they are chock-full of bioflavonoids and zinc, once again helping to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Beef, in moderation, is good for your eyesight! Beef helps your body utilize vitamin A, which is a fat-soluble vitamin (as well as vitamin E). This simply means that these vitamins are better absorbed by the body when eaten with fat; remember, we need some fat for vital organ function and energy!
- Sunflower seeds make a terrific snack and are healthy, too! They are rich in zinc and vitamin E.
So, it seems the common denominators of these foods are vitamins A and E, zinc, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids. Now you know what nutrients your eyes need and what foods provide them.
There should be something for everyone on this list, and none of these foods are hard to obtain. Fresh, frozen, or canned – simply incorporating them into your lifestyle will help your eyes stay healthy. Bon Appetit!
If you live in the southeastern Michigan area and have any concerns about your eyesight, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment or contact us through our Michigan Eye Institute website.
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