6 Foods For Healthy Eyes
Carrots aren’t the only food that will keep your eyesight strong as you age. Here are six foods to eat for healthy eyes Essential Foods For Healthy Eyes
Healthy Eyes At Every Age
When it comes to staying healthy as we age, we may tend to focus on our heart, brain and bones, first. But healthy aging also involves seeing well into the future. Keeping our eyes healthy is an important way to help prevent age-related eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, vision loss, dry eyes, cataracts, and problems with night vision.
Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables
To prevent eye diseases such as macular degeneration—a condition which causes progressive damage to the retina, resulting in a gradual loss of vision—dark green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, collard greens and dark green lettuce (think Romaine), should definitely be on the menu. That’s because they contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two important nutrients that have antioxidant functions in the body and help to prevent cell damage. “We have lutein and zeaxanthin as pigments in the back part of the eye,” says Dr. Guillermo Rocha, an ophthalmologist and Medical Director of GRMC Vision Centre in Brandon, Manitoba.
Sweet Potatoes and Yams
Bright orange fruits and vegetables get their colour from beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A that helps promote healthy vision. She also recommends noshing on squash, carrots, apricots and pumpkin. Essential Foods For Healthy Eyes
The omega-3 fatty acids that found in oily fish, such as salmon, sardines, tuna and mackerel, have all sorts of health benefits—including your eyes. Rocha says that’s because omega-3 helps modulate the inflammation that can lead to dry eyes. He warns, however, that some omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids can actually cause inflammation in the eyes and suggests those supplements be avoide if dry eyes are a problem
In addition to containing lutein and zeaxanthin, broccoli is also high in vitamin C. “It’s the synergy of nutrients,” says Coulson. “That particular food and that particular combination of nutrients can actually reduce the progress of age-related macular degeneration and vision loss.”
Wheat germ is great source of vitamin E, another important antioxidant. “What vitamin E does is protect the eyes from free-radical damage,” says Coulson, meaning that it protects cells in the body from oxidation, which can cause deterioration and disease. Vitamin E may also decrease the progression of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. “You can even add it to stews,” says Coulson. Almonds, sunflower seeds and hazelnuts are also good sources of vitamin E. Essential Foods For Healthy Eyes
From chickpeas and kidney beans, to mung beans and lentils, eating beans and other legumes is an easy way to add zinc to your diet. Serve up beans in stews and casseroles, or add them to salads. Zinc is also found in oysters, beef, poultry and pumpkin seeds
What about supplements?
While it may be tempting to add supplements to your diet to boost your eye health, Coulson says that when it comes to getting the right nutrients, whole foods are the way to go. At the end of the day, a diet that is rich in fruit, vegetables, fish and lean meats will benefit your body in all sorts of ways. “I always say food first,” says Coulson. “Food provides nutrients in the right amounts. Take them just as nature made, because they are far more effective.” Essential Foods For Healthy Eyes
That said, a number of companies make vitamins specifically for people suffering from macular degeneration, which Rocha says can be particularly helpful. Known as AREDS-formula vitamins, they contain antioxidant vitamins in doses that have been shown to help with age-related eye problems. But Rocha warns that their quality can vary, so be sure to consult an eye-care specialist or health practitioner first.
In general, he says, good health is the first line of defense when it comes to keeping your eyes in good shape. “We should all be eating healthier,” says Rocha. “Avoiding trans fats, lowering calories it all benefits the eyes.”
You are what you eat
Want to know what else food can do for your health? Pick up a copy of Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal. This breakthrough book that changed the way we think about food helps you sort out conflicting information on which foods are good for you and which ones aren’t. Essential Foods For Healthy Eyes